Open Discussion: Week of January 20th

Baseball was all abuzz last week with the Astros cheating scandal.  The organization was fined, lost draft picks, and the manager and GM were suspended for a season.  They were later fired by the Astros owner.  The Red Sox and Mets managers were subsequently let go as they were mentioned as being involved in the final report on the Astros scandal.  The Red Sox will likely receive their own penalties when their own cheating case comes to a conclusion.

Sorry, but that is not enough.  The players involved should also be punished.  Baseball appears to be trying to protect its product on the field in much the same way as Charles Comiskey tried to protect his cheating players.  Both tried to shield star players from punishment.  The scandals are similar.  Players schemed to cheat for monetary gain, the Black Sox by throwing a world series and the Astros by stealing one.

Baseball needs to recover its reputation.  Before some current day Charles C. Nims goes to court over a bet he lost at a local sports betting parlor in any of the states that allow sports betting.  (Mr. Nims was the plaintiff in the Black Sox scandal.  He lost $250.)

I would not be against a lifetime ban for the manager, GM, and players.  Not punishing the players is like punishing the the guy who plans a bank robbery or pays for a murder, but not punishing the guys who carried out the deeds.

*** steps off soap box ***

In Phillies news, Odubel Herrera was designated for assignment to Lehigh Valley.  This freed up his spot on the 40-man roster and will keep him in minor league camp this spring.  This does not create any space under the Tax Threshold.  The Phillies are still on the hook for his entire salary.

The Phillies reached agreement on contracts with all but two of their arbitration eligible players.  J.T. Realmuto and Hector Neris filed for $12.4M and $5.2M respectively.  The Phillies countered with $10M and $4.25M.  The combined difference is $3.35M  (2.4+.95).  If both cases go to hearings, and the Phillies lose both, that would lower the cash available below the Tax Threshold from roughly $5.3M to around $3.625M.

There were about 563 free agents available this off season.  So far, 423 have signed or announced their retirement.  All but 5 of MLBTR’s top 50 free agents have signed – Nicholas Castellanos, Marcell Ozuna, Yasiel Puig, Brock Holt, and Pedro Strop.

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 – .221/.299/.360/.659, 19-86, 9 R, 5 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 6 BB, 25 K
  • Edwards – .222/.276/.272/.547, 18-81, 4 R, 4 2B, 9 RBI, 5 BB, 14 K
  • O’Hoppe – .256/.376/.462/.836, 20-78, 14 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 14 BB, 21 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 – .198/.287/.297/.584, 20-101, 10 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 13 BB, 37 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, 5.14) – 7.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 4 BB, 3 K, 1.86 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:

  • 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)
1/17/2020 – C Christian Bethancourt assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/17/2020 – 2B Ronald Torreyes assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/16/2020 – Phillies sent CF Odubel Herrera outright to Lehigh Valley
1/14/2020 – Phillies designated CF Odubel Herrera for assignment
1/14/2020 – Phillies claimed LF Nick Martini off waivers from Cincinnati Reds
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster 3B Alec Bohm to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster 3B Luke Williams to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Kyle Dohy to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster 1B Austin Listi to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Tyler Gilbert to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster 1B Darick Hall to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP Spencer Howard to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Damon Jones to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster C Henri Lartigue to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster SS Nick Maton to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster OF Mickey Moniak to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP Ramon Rosso to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP Addison Russ to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster LHP Zach Warren to spring training
1/13/2020 – Phillies invited non-roster RHP Connor Brogdon to spring training
1/10/2020 – Phillies agree to $2.65M contract w/RHP Zach Eflin, avoid arbitration
1/10/2020 – Phillies agree to $3.6M contract w/RHP Vince Velasquez, avoid arbitration
1/10/2020 – Phillies agree to $2.95M contract w/LHP Jose Alvarez, avoid arbitration
1/10/2020 – Phillies agree to $1.575M contract w/LHP Adam Morgan, avoid arbitration
1/02/2020 – Phillies signed INF Ronald Torreyes to an MiLB w/invite to ST
1/02/2019 – Phillies signed C Christian Bethancourt to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST

189 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of January 20th

  1. 22 days until pitchers and catchers! I can smell the pine tar, freshly cut grass and oiled leather.

    1. Meanwhile….I’ve never been an Andy Reid fan back to his days with the Eagles. However, KC has been my favorite NFL team since I watched them beat my older brother’s favorite Minnesota Vikings back when I was 7 years old in Super Bowl IV. My heart sank the day the Chiefs hired Reid in ’12. My fear is always that he’ll find a way to mismanage the clock again. But since 50 years have come and gone, including those great teams in the ’90s led by Derrick Thomas and Christian Okoye, and they finally now have a generational QB…

      GO CHIEFS!!

      1. “a generational QB…’…Patrick Mahomes…a three star HS QB out of Texas, going to Texas Tech in 2014 with only a 78 rating, and now going to the Big Game.
        Andy worked wonders for Donovan and now has worked his magic again with Mahomes…though Mahomes stats at air-offense Tech were outstanding in his three years there.

      2. Now that the Eagles have won a Super Bowl, I am prepared and happy for Andy Reid to win one for himself – he’s certainly waited long enough. Andy is a meticulous planner and a virtual organizational genius. He has two big flaws. First, he was not a personnel genius and was actually bad at picking players in the draft. He doesn’t do that anymore, so problem solved. Second, he is quite bad at thinking quickly on his feet. I’ve always said Andy could win a Super Bowl if it was a blow out and he just might have the team now to do that. But if it’s close – yikes – it’s going to be scary for Chiefs fans. I do, however, hope that another collapse is not what defines Andy Reid as it defines so many other “would be” champions like Marv Levy and the Bills.

        1. One thing that the new 2-minute drill Andy has going for him is the ridiculously talented, improvisational Patrick Mahomes, who change things up in an instant and can make a coach look like a genius. The run he had before halftime yesterday is one of the best plays I’ve ever seen a quarterback make.

      3. I have nothing but respect for Andy Reid during his tenure for the Eagles. For all of his flaws, that was a borderline Eagles dynasty. Go get your ring Andy.

  2. Logan O’Hoppe, as a 19-year old in the ABL, turns 20 next month, is showing some very encouraging signs at the plate. Rhys was there as a 22-year old, a few months shy of his 23rd birthday, and had 8 HRs.….O’Hoppe with 4.
    There is a lot to like with him.

    1. It’s a little hard to know what to make of the numbers, but he’s doing quite well. Lots of walks, good power – he could turn into something special.

      1. Yes….sometimes I get a little too excited about low A guys and their expectations.
        Though, at first glance, Phillies seem to be pushing him pretty hard at this point.
        Especially for a low round HS draftee.
        Both Dylan Cozens and Cord Sandberg were assigned to the ABL in their age20 season, both high round HS picks, and both had completed their full-season Lakewood assignments the summer before hand.
        O’Hoppe came out of short ball Williamsport and a year younger than both Cozens and Sandberg..
        Perhaps this is Josh Bonifay’s strategy, and wanting to accelerate development for those players he feels can handle more of a challenge.

  3. Jim, agreed. The players are getting off easy imo. If I was a player, and got the this type of edge in a series of big games, yeah I’d probably do it … and just do a better job of not getting caught. The penalty doesn’t deter me from increasing my odds of making it to the WS, not to mention my pay increase.

    Go big red, really want to see him pull this out. 21 years is a long time to wait

    Speaking of a long time to wait… I believe Bryce Harper was still unsigned this time last year …. crazy wait that was!

    1. I wonder if Manfred isn’t a little on the edge here, wanting to be tough but not ruinously so if it turns out that a dozen teams cheated. Maybe he doesn’t want to tarnish otherwise wholesome-looking guys like Altuve.

      Some opposing players are starting to speak up and it might be, especially if the cheating is limited Stros and BoSox, that the players union would support, rather than oppose, punishment of offending players, much like they turned around on PEDs when the clean majority decided tolerated PEDs was cheating them.

      1. Yes, there is that factor. This story is going to linger, everyone is going to want to know if this is just the 2 teams, or if it is more wise spread. In a lot of ways, this is worse imo than steroids. It’s like walking into a test and knowing the questions ahead of time… if it was league wide, at least the playing field was somewhat level, but you gotta feel for the players, mainly thr pitchers who got ripped because of this. You can see it Chapman’s face when altuve took him deep to send the Astros to the series, like something was fishy.

        I tend to believe it is more league wide than just those 2 teams. The way the Phillies hit, they are obviously out of the loop 🙂

        1. Tac, Yu Darvis. Lights out all through the season and the playoffs, then pummeled during the World Series, though he did follow up with an off year.

          1. Honestly makes you wonder. Again if this sort of sign stealing is not done throughout the league, some players really got cheated .

            On another note, I know the Astros had a ridculous rookie belting 35+ hrs this year, gotta wonder how legit those numbers are when you are sitting on changeups!

          1. Jim, Rhys knew what was coming. The first pitch would always be a fastball down the middle. And he would watch it fly by.

      2. Frank….opportunity presents itself….I think this gives the commissioner the opening now to institute his latest tech fancy…….direct communication from the dugout to the catcher/pitcher via some sort of electronic blue tooth device, like the NFL does with their QBs.
        He wants this along with the electronic strike zone.
        Then there was the international draft…..when the FBI began investigation foreign player acquisitions and the methods used by some teams under the RICO law…..he was able to start the ball rolling on that draft without any push back from the Latin caucus players or certain teams, as they have done in the past..

        The commissioner wants to make his mark on the game for sure and all the doors are opening for him..

        1. Romus, interesting take on Manfred’s opportunities. Can’t say that I disagree with any of them, though electronic ball-and-strike calling would tend to denature the game.

        2. Romus, Rob Manfred as commissioner is a disaster for all of baseball. Everything from cheating, changing baseballs and destroying the Minor League system all in the name of a few more bucks for a multi billion industry. The owners should vote him out before Baseball sinks below Soccer.

          1. And lets not forget the speed of the game….the pitch clock, and also the safety issues for the fans …the netting extensions
            When all is said and done, he could go down as one of the most aggressive, innovative, disruptive and controversial commissioners to hold that position

            1. The guy’s an empty suit much like Goodell, IMO. Clouds without rain is all they are. Lots of talk but the only action taken usually alienates the fans and often the players. Or they take forever to do what should be done without any reservation.

  4. Awhile back a top 30 or 50 prospect list was posted, I believe by V1again. The one area that surprised me about this list, was the valuation of Connor Seabold. He was one spot behind Kevin Gowdy. I believe they were somewhere between 25 & 30 back to back.
    I’ve been high on Gowdy, not a secret round these parts, obviously a big year for him, but I was pretty shocked to see Seabold below him.
    Is this a knock on the Phillies system, or did this scout get a little lazier as he went down the system. I’d figure Seabold is near top 15 ish at worst after his AFL performance. Maybe that wasn’t counted but I though this was a huge oversight by the scout or he really doesn’t think much of Seabold, as I know the general opinions surrounding Gowdy.

    Personally I see them both above this guys scouting report, so will see.

    1. Seabold doesn’t have lights-out stuff or great velocity which, as a righty, is going to make it harder for him to succeed. His margin of error is smaller and, until he proves himself in the majors, he’s going to be a big question mark and his prospect grades will suffer accordingly.

      1. Yes….hopefully his re-modified grip on the change-up, will make that pitch for him a lights out plus pitch. Since his velo is not sit mid -to -hi 90s he will need more finesse production from somewhere..

        1. Correct its not likely but there are a handful of examples recently of pitchers who had lower end FB velocity but their mastery of the CU was so good it allowed them to be very effective.

          Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies and a few years ago Marco Estrada. See I didn’t even have to mention Greg Maddux LOL

  5. Intentionally losing games is different than using a trick to get a competitive advantage. One is totally against the nature of competition for profit. The other is competition taken a shade too far beyond the boundaries of decency. It is an overreaction to punish players. If I was in the same position as an Astros trash can hearing player, I can’t honestly say I’d be able to stop it.

    1. The players are not without fault here. They could have easily said that they weren’t going to cheat, and it would have ended there. Instead, they profited from it. There definitely needs to be some punishment for the players.

    2. Steven, it is not an overreaction to punish players for cheating. If there is no punishment now, then there is no deterrent for future actions. Think about it. There is no message for current players. Instead there is a precedent that players are not going to be punished.

      And there is no difference in what they and the Black Sox tried to accomplish, cheating for personal gain. The methods were different but the payoff was the same. Money. You can call it a “trick” or a “shade too far”, but what they did was against the rules and has to be punished.

      Now, a lifetime may be an overreaction on my part, but I don’t see any difference between what Black Sox did and what the Astros did. The precedent for the type of punishment is in place. If the scandal spreads to the Red Sox and other teams, so be it. There are plenty of players to take their places.

      Here’s a parting thought. Because of the penalties incurred, there are 4 players who won’t be drafted during the next two Rule 4 Drafts.

      1. If I may paraphrase Commisioner Landis,

        “Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who cheats in a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to cheat in a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers and coaches and managers, where the ways and means of cheating during a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club or the commissioner’s office about it, will ever play professional baseball again.”

      2. The commissioner doesn’t need to punish the players bc going forward the managers won’t allow the cheating to take place for fear of losing their job. And if the manager doesn’t recognize his players cheating then he probably doesn’t deserve to be the coach.

      3. Jim I have tremendous respect for you and your judgement, but I suggest that it is night and day between the Black Sox and the Astros alleged conduct. One team if my understanding of the Black Sox is correct, deliberately did badly so they would lose, violating the most fundamental principal that both teams will try their best. The other got a competitive advantage using technology. Hey, when Goose Gossage was pitching everyone knew they were going to get a fastball but they still had to hit it. I don’t condone it but thieves are not the same as murderers.

  6. To me, punishing the players in this situation is like it was in the steroid era. If you can absolutely prove they were part of the cheating, then yes, they should be punished.

    Challenge is how do you “prove” they were cheating? Just like with steroids, there are many players who everyone assumes were using but until they failed a drug test, there was no penalty. Unless the player admits they were cheating (they won’t) there isn’t tangible evidence.

    Sure we all know they were, but knowing and proving are separate things.

    1. Well, yeah, it’s like any disputed issue in the law. If you have 3 people who will testify to their cheating and will explain, in a credible way why, when and how they cheated, there definitely may be evidence. We just don’t know yet.

      1. I’m just giving 3 witnesses as an example. It could be one witness or other corroborating evidence.

  7. As the off season winds down and spring training nears I think it’s safe to say the Philadelphia Phillies won the off season when it comes to head coaching hires.. That statement runs down to pitching and bench coaches..

    1. That’s a fair observation. I’ve killed them for screwing up some coaching/developmental things in the past, but it very much looks like they did a great job with their managerial and coaching hires. It seems like a nice step in the right direction.

      1. I am glad the Yankees never cheated back in ’17, on the ball field.
        In fact, if I recall, they may have been the first to make the accusations vs the Astros of their shenanigans during their ALCS when they lost to the Stros in seven games.

  8. I agree with going harsh on the cheaters. It maybe hard to prove, but I say make it easy… if there is even a question lay down the law. This way the game can recover. Let the players plead they are not guilty, in this cause we don’t really care, the fans just want or know that going forward, the moments are true. If Bryce Harper hits a walkoff hr that sends the Phillies into the WS… I want it to be done fairly.

    this is worse than Pete rose by far, the steroid era, and a tick below the blacksoxs scandal

    Any player & coach involved in the scandal should have to:

    Return all 2019 salaries, and bonuses paid, especially playoff bonuses
    Or be banned for life – players choice. All pentaltoes must be repaid by the end of the 2020 season

    Asterick next to the Astros WS. I hate the Nats, but I’m glad they won now, knowing this info.

    Any player deemed to cheat, their team should start the season 10 gms out. If they moan, and deny it, make it 15 gms. Win together, lose together, cheat together, share the penalty together.

    That’s the only way to deter imo, or have the Ballz to ban Altuve, Bergman, Springer etc

  9. Apologies if already discussed, I wanted to send out thought for 3B I had since Franco lost the job last year. Can Realmuto play 3B?
    Johnny Bench moved there late in his career.
    I’d much rather get a vet backup C this season and leave Realmuto in the lineup and likely extend his career.
    I’d feel much better about 5/$110M extension if I knew he could be a 3B also and not just 130 game player. Why not try it this year to see?

    1. Realmuto had 4.4 WAR at catcher in 2019. He was an all-star and won the gold glove and silver slugger. No, he will not be moving to 3B.

      But let’s just say he moves to 3B. How can you expect him to put up the numbers he did playing a position he hasn’t played since he came up to the bigs? Not only that, who’s playing catcher? You really want Andrew Knapp to be the starter? I don’t.

  10. No disrespect PhxPhilly, but unless I am sure that JTR is going to remain the top C in the league, I don’t sign him to that extension. I do, however think he will remain so. Occasional DH duties, in the future, sure, and I still want a good back up C, but I would never have made the trade for him, unless I was sure he was the best. I don’t think 3B would fit him, at all. I think he Catches closer to 150 games a year.

    1. matt13……JTR has never caught more than 133 games in his MLB career.
      Not sure Joe G. will try pushing the envelope on that now…though he has played first base 13 times in one year with the Marlins…I see him over there or DHing to catch a breather when he has to play in a game…

  11. And that was my mistake, Romus. I should have checked what I wrote, and meant it to be 130 games. 150 would be crazy, and I apologize. Braves sign King Felix to a minor league contract, another deal I would have liked. Why can’t Bryan Price be the guy who resurrects careers, and the guarantee is $1M. Anyway, I still hope Matt Klentak knows what he is doing, because the Phils are my team, and I will always root for them. I can’t keep shaking the feeling that we are coming in to the season too short of Pitching talent.

    1. The Braves can have King Felix. He has declined rapidly and hasn’t been good since 2015. He’s 33 and has thrown an absurd 2729 innings. To put that number into context, Jon Lester is 35 and has thrown 2537 innings.

    2. matt13…no problem,
      …no need to apologize. All in fun.
      And wish Matt L. would make some sort of a deal to help the staff.
      Time is running out.

  12. It’s probably safe to assume the Phillies won’t make any more moves until Neris and JTR arb situations are hammered out. There’s either ~3mil or ~5mil left. There will be plenty of talent left for minor league contracts.
    Perhaps there’s a trade to be had but if not, let’s just fast forward to spring training and see some baseball!!

        1. I would wonder if possibly it actually starts maybe ends near Segura due to salary and player antagonism

          1. They have no need for, nor desire to obtain, Segura. If you sell Arenado off, you’re rebuilding. He’s the cornerstone of that team. And they already have Trevor Story at SS and McMahon/Brendan Rogers for 2B.

            Putting Segura at 3B in lieu of Arenado is nothing shy of a downgrade and a pure salary dump. And if they’re just dumping salary, I’m willing to bet they’d MUCH rather have a lower level prospect to roll the dice on. They may as well put Rogers at 3B if they’re getting rid of Arenado. Even the Stanton got two decent prospects for the Marlins, and Arenado is the better deal of the two by far.

            1. I think Arenado trade would cost a lot. Bohm, Howard, and some others. Not interested in giving those up.
              Howard can help this summer and beyond
              Bohm should be good to go, even with so so defense.

            2. Yeah, this was a Fangraphs chat question/answer the other day, not sure if you caught it…

              Dee Arby: Bird in hand or two in the bush? Thinking Spencer Howard and Bohm for Arenado as the framework. Is it better to hope both pan out instead of getting the guarenteed (sp) superstar?

              Eric A Longenhagen: considering what kind of $ Philly has committed elsewhere, I imagine they’re more inclined to hold onto those two, but man Arenado is so incredible that you’d probably have to do it.

              I tend to support the more practical approach hinted at in the first part of his response. Middleton, who should probably just stop giving the media soundbites about his team’s finances, claimed that an impact player would push the Phillies past the 208 threshold. Arenado is one of the few players who certainly fit that profile, so I actually wouldn’t be blown away if a deal came together.

              But, coming back to reality and considering the real nature of this team’s payroll, it would be incredibly difficult to sustain a perennial-contender with a 35 million contract on the books. Again, this all comes back to the failure of the rebuild in producing a competitive, cost-controlled core, thus forcing the Phils to FA for players that should/could have been filling a key role for cheap (LF in Cutch, SPs in Arrieta and Wheeler, SS in Didi and Segura, and the soon-to-be-expensive acquisition of JTR).

              I’d sum it up by saying this: Klentak has shown us what he can do in Free Agency and trades, and his job is on the line because things just haven’t worked out. If he has any hope of extending his time as GM in Philly, he must prove that the rebuild was not a total failure. He needs Bohm and Howard to make their debuts in Philly for this to even have a chance of happening.

  13. Last year, the Phils made a big bet on young, promising pitchers. It didn’t work out as Pivetta, Eflin and Vinny all went backwards. I don’t think that was a bad decision. It was a calculated gamble and it didn’t work out. I don’t blame them for that. you can’t have a staff of young, controllable pitchers (an enviable position) without taking that risk.

    This year, they are taking similar risks by betting on young, controllable players. The Phils’ path to the playoffs will depede on the development of Kingery, Haseley, Bohm, Howard, Vinny and Eflin. And bounce backs from Arrieta, Rhys, Didi and Segura. If those players perform, then we will be a playoff team. It is another calculated gamble, and I am ok with it.

    1. I’m generally okay with this approach, but I thought with a little bit of additional financial creativity (or expense tolerance – i.e., exceeding the cap by a marginal amount), they could have also added a few FA pitchers at a reasonable cost with some upside, but they completely ignored that market (or at least they have thus far) and I don’t think it was wise to do so.

    2. The Phillies don’t have much of a choice. $10M salary doesn’t sound like much nowadays but if everybody on the 26 man roster was making $10M, well, we can all do the math and the Phillies will easily enter tax territory. So the Phillies need to balance the large salaries (Arrieta, Wheeler, Harper) with the cheaper salaries. So we have no choice but to depend on the younger players, and I stated this possibility months ago, especially in the rotation.

    3. @v1 – on the SP rotation risk, i agree that once again the Phillies are taking a gamble on its young SP internally. However, signing Zach Wheeler and one more year of development from Howard, Medina, Seabold, Damon Jones mitigate that risks. So the approach (betting on young SP) is the same but the risk management is entirely different. While I want the Phillies to sign one more proven SP, I think internal options are better in 2020.

      Everybody wants 90% of the team to be at their best to become a contender. That shouldn’t be the case —- the success of the main core of Nola-Wheeler-Harper-JTR-Hoskins-a Closer will largely determine if the Phillies can be a legit contender or not. The rest of team will just help in moving the Phillies deep into the playoff.

      1. the bottom line is, if we can’t develop players, we will never be a good team. We can’t keep selling prospects for expensive veterans and also sign expensive veteran FAs. that is not how you build a team.

        so as much as I love getting Arenado, selling Bohm, Howard and others for him is a disaster for a team with as weak of a farm as we have. Dodgers are another matter. they can sell their top prospects because they are so deep. but our farm is not deep at all.

        bottom line, if Bohm and Howard don’t turn out to be studs, we are in a lot of trouble. we need to hit on those two badly.

        1. What you’ve said is undoubtedly true. Notice, however, how reluctant even a team like the Dodgers are, who are balanced and stacked with major leaguers and prospects, to trade their most valuable commodities. This is not a coincidence. Teams that regularly deal their best prospects do not become perennial contenders as we want the Phillies to become – they go through untenable boom and bust cycles which is something we should avoid like the plague.

        2. @v1 – i agree with this. I’m one of the small group here that’s been constantly criticizing Klentak for his inability to find talent.

          But that’s not the argument that I’ve been disagreeing with you — your argument about betting on the young SP is the one I disagree. In 2019, the Phillies did not sign a big FA SP, in 2020 they signed one of the top SP – this is a big difference. Second, a couple of MLB ready arm made a big leap (Howard and Seabold) that can contribute in 2020 – last year, that is supposed to be delos Santons and Medina, who did not really help. That’s another big difference.

          To go back to developing internally, that’s I 100% agree. I also in line with you with in drafting high risk high ceiling prospects early in the Rule 4 — I’ve been suggesting that since the Randolph draft.

          1. About the Phillies decision to gamble with Eflin/Velasquez/Pivetta again in 2020 …
            There’s a very good chance at least two/maybe all three have better seasons under the tutelage of a superior pitching coach (Bryan Price). The same may be true for all the young arms vying for spots in the BP. That said … (sorry to repeat myself again … but) the more sound strategy would have been to go over the cap (even by a little) to bring in a couple of veterans. Sergio Romo settled for a one year/4.75 million dollar deal, with a club option for a second season. Alex Wood and Drew Smyly each got one year pacts for 4 million dollars + incentives. There’s no guarantee that any of these guys would have been the difference in the club’s success or failure in 2020, but for the money spent (very little), they would have made sensible additions to this pitching staff.

            Let’s hope the offense turns out to be as potent as I believe they should be, the team is competing for the division in July, and Matt Klentak is able to add someone like Robbie Ray, Jose Quintana, Mike Minor, or even Yu Darvish (if Middleton wants to really throw some stoopid money around) at the trade deadline.

            1. Yes, that is the bet again. That Price can turn these guys around. I think they want to give it one more year because it is so much cheaper if it works.

              again, I think they look at it as:
              – If three of: Arrieta, Efflin, Vinny, Pivetta, Howard or others are productive, then we are a playoff team.
              – if two of those three are productive, then go buy a pitcher at the deadline
              – if one (or zero) of those are productive, then wait until off season and Arrieta’s contract comes off the books and buy another FA pitcher or two.

            2. v1:
              I think you hit the nail on the head with those three options presented to them this season.
              I also hope that Joe G has a healthy bunch of opening day bullpen arms to work with thru the season..

  14. Guess who MLB Pipeline has ranked as the #1 3B prospect? He’s also listed as the 3b prospect with the highest ceiling.

    1. It is nice to see Bohm and Howard both in the top 10 for their respective positions.
      We are counting on you!!!

      1. For all the things that have disappointed me I am so excited about both of these guys. Sometimes players just give you the feeling they will be successful in the big leagues and each of these guys really do.

    2. Gamboa rated as the Phillies best defensive prospect in the system.
      Wonder if that has any trade chip value.

      1. As much value as a; Bobby Wine, Ruben Amaro , Terry Harmon, Luis Aguayo, Kim Batiste, Steve Jeltz, Glen Brumlett or a Phil Gosslin.

  15. v1, this is actually the 3rd time we are gambling on Pivetta and Velasquez. The first was the trade deadline in 2018 when we did not add anything, and all 3 collapsed, Eflin included, down the stretch. Then last year, and now again. And, I will root for them to succeed this go round. But, it’s not that I think King Felix has anything left, or much left, it this the totality of not making better moves to bolster the Pitching. We are also taking huge gambles on the BP. Health and talent gambles. I believe we could have done better. And, I hope I am wrong.

  16. One aspect of the 2020 schedule is the stark contrast between April and May. The Phillies play 21 if their first 31 games on the road. In May, 18 of 27 at CBP. Let’s hope their plan is to wait and see how things are going as they approach the deadline.

  17. Anybody have any info on Jose Pujols? I didn’t realize he was that good in 2018. It seemed like he was finally coming around and then got hurt, but he is still pretty young.

  18. If Klentak is trying to annoy anyone by signing guys like Drew Storen to minor league deals, he’s succeeded. Another 32 year old, hasn’t pitched effectively since Papelbon replaced him in DC before the latter tried to strangle Bryce in the dugout. Just the profile our GM salivates over.

    1. 8mark … It’s a no-lose situation to sign pitchers to minor league deals. If Storen stinks it up in spring training, they can just release him.
      BTW … I think there’s a good chance they bring back Tommy Hunter on a minor league deal, as well.

    2. In one thread the GM is blamed for not getting depth pieces (like Felix Hernandez) and then for getting depth pieces (like Storen). Oh Philly…

        1. I would say getting depth RP pieces for a club that lost a full MLB relief corps last year is the exact right move to make. Our bullpen wasn’t bad last year; it was decimated.

      1. It’s not that signing guys like Storen is a bad idea – it’s perfectly fine. It’s that it’s not nearly enough.

  19. Add Bud Norris to the list. Another minor league contract. Dan K, I agree with catch. It isn’t not getting Felix Hernandez or how many reclamation/DFA’d/released pitchers we signed. It is that, overall, there was not enough good signings. And, this isn’t the first time jim p has indicated that Tommy Hunter will be back also. So, I trust what he knows or surmises. Again, maybe Bryan Price unleashes VV/Pivetta/Cristopher Sanchez, etc. I sure hope so. I just would have liked more. And, when we need, and go get more, in July, we will complain about who we had to give up, rather than just signed for money. Still rooting for them all the way, even when I complain.

    1. “And, when we need, and go get more, in July, we will complain about who we had to give up, rather than just signed for money.”

      This is exactly right – whatever we pay now will pale in comparison with the prospect price we will likely have to surrender in July for pitching. Their judgment in foregoing pitching right now is highly suspect.

    2. DMAR – true, but this is likely the best way forward, to helping your team in the postseason, simply because bullpens are so hit or miss from year to year. Let them see what they have, make additions at the deadline for the bullpen arm that is having an “on” year. Rheal Cormier is the perfect example of “on” and “off” years. Yeah it stinks giving up prospects, but what do we always say “very few” make it … so don’t give up the ones that will “make it” 🙂 We can throw stones at Klentak if he does! Fun for us at least

    1. Good news. This most likely guarantees they are not getting one of the 3b trade candidates and have replaced Donaldson with Ozuna. They are now approaching the luxury tax threshold that would make adding an expensive trade piece unlikely.

      This is a hit to their offensive production as Markakis becomes their 4th OF and Inciarte becomes the every day CF. They are gambling that Austin Riley’s massive fade last season wasn’t a sign of the league figuring him out..

      1. Still wondering if they will make a play for Bryant…they have the prospect capital to do that….especially in the arms department
        If Bryant’s ruling comes down as expected that he has two more years…I can see them trading for him.

        1. Romus, it would cost them Bohm, definitely. But if the Cubs insist on Howard as well, forget it. Wait for KB to go free agency and then sign him to replace Cutch in LF. At this point I would not trade Bohm but the risk of losing Bryant in 2 years is lesser IMO due to his Boras-Harper bond. He could be persuaded to stick around and form a nucleus of Harper-Bryant-JTR-Hoskins-Nola-Howard. And if they wait until ’21, Bohm could be the 1b with Hoskins the DH inevitably. That lineup is sweet to dream on.

          1. 8mark…sorry …saw your post a little late…talking about the Braves dealing for Bryant in response to 3up’s post…not the Phillies trading for him..

            1. I know….signing Ozuna knocked Atlanta out of the Bryant/Arenado market. Too close to the lux tax now.

    1. Speaking of the Flyers (and Phillies), I wonder if these gas leaks/pollution outbursts in Philly are affecting the health of its athletes. It’s crazy that all 4 major sports teams are sending so many players to the injured list in one year. I expect Embiid to get hurt, but the carousel for the Eagles and the Phillies this past year was unreal, and the Flyers have gotten hit pretty hard, too.

      I’d honestly be curious to see the most injury-laden year for one city across the major sports

  20. I’m ready to put my red pin stripe glasses on. It just feels like the right time to shed my negativity towards the moves I thought they should have made but didn’t.

    It was a rough couple of weeks for baseball but then I thought to myself baseball has always had and survived its share of scandals and it hit me. I’m getting old when all the things I’ve witnessed and even things I haven’t witnessed but studied about lend a certain wisdom to the modern day.

    It begs the question does the 24/7 consumption of baseball information I impose on myself take away from the enjoyment and natural beauty of the game. I’ll ponder that for a while and see if it simplifies how I take in the game I love.

  21. “…..24/7 consumption of baseball information I impose on myself “….you dream Phillies baseball? 🙂

  22. DMAR, I am with you. I know I complain when the team doesn’t do enough, and I certainly don’t think that we have this off season. But, I can’t wait for Pitchers and Catchers to report. I will delude myself every time I read a report that so and so looks great, and all the Pitchers are flourishing under Bryan Price, and all the hitters look good under Joe Dillon, and I will root for my team. I thoroughly enjoy Baseball, and the Phillies are my team, and I want the feeling of the 2007-2011 seasons again. I think that is what we should have, and only mismanagement has stopped us from continuing to be a force every season. I do think that Didi and Wheeler and Joe G were great signings, I really do think the new PC and HC will have positive impacts, and I really hope I am wrong and that the Pitching is enough to keep us in the race all year. That’s why they play the games, so goes the old saying.

  23. Phillies signed lefty Francisco Liriano to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

  24. Sometimes I wonder if they even watch their own players. It seemed to me there were 3 new players last year who really showed me something: Smyly (gone), Dickerson (gone) and Miller (seems to be gone). I get why Dickerson isn’t back, but I don’t get not re-signing Smyly or Miller. Miller’s no magician with the glove but he can play and he can really hit.

    1. And Miller’s enough younger than Walker that it really makes a difference. I hope they can still sign him.

        1. Hinkie, I share your frustration. My only redemptive thought about the possible method to the owner’s madness is that he’s loading for bear in the winter of ’20/’21. Perhaps in his visit with JTR out in Oklahoma in October, he told him, “Look, we’re starting the clock on the luxury overage tax with you in 2021. We’re also targeting other big fish over the next 2 years before scaling back under the tax line. How about Mookie Betts in CF!” Now I’m not assuming that’s his plan, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt….this time. My main objection is punting a year of Harper and Co away in 2020…or merely hoping for dumb luck up and down the roster.

      1. Have to assume Walker as a switch-hitter with more experience, was the deciding factor over Miller.

  25. I like both of these signings. Walker, despite his bad splits is still a decent hitter – and versatile. He also has some pop. Liriano was effective out of the pen with a high mark for K’s last year. He’s got to be better than some of the other options the pen had last year !

    1. Walker is a 21 bWAR career guy….with over 5K PAs….so he should be helpful as the 26th guy.

  26. Matt Gelb:
    Of his 8 selections for this year’s HoF (to include Jeter and Walker) …three were Clemens, Bonds and Sosa.
    At least he admitted it….Sosa got 13%.

  27. I actually like taking a shot at both guys. They have had success and the risk is low. These latest signings would have been great in 2014-15, but not complaining. I would have also lined Miller and Smyly.

  28. I expected them to resign Miller but Walker gets that spot. I could see Walker and Harrison making the 25 to start the year, assuming they show well in ST, with Quinn, Bruce and Knapp on the bench.

  29. Can anyone with a subscription to Baseball America post which Phillies prospects are ranked in their top 100 out overnight? ….. I did see their opening paragraph which mentioned the following top represented teams….
    Tampa 8 (Wander Franco #1 unanimous)
    LAD 7
    Twins 6
    Padres 6
    Milwaukee was shut out, only team without a prospect in the top 100.

      1. I think that’s a pretty good showing and what you would expect. We have two elite/near elite prospects and then the next prospects are B level prospects.

        1. Yes…my hope that many of those at A level ball …from the Rookie league to Clearwater, will soon emerge and step up this season..

        2. Among those B level prospects – the Phillies might finally hit on multiple power arms — Damon Jones, Kyle Dohy, Connor Brogdon, Zach Warren, Addison Russ, Jakob Hernandez — these prospects may not sniff any top prospect rankings but they can provide value like what Ken Giles provided.

          Even the disappointing Adonis Medina, I believe he can contribute to the pen and we might see a better stuff from him pitching in 1-2 innings.

          1. Look, you can never know what will happen, but none of the guys you mentioned have shown anywhere near the level of dominance, or stuff, that Ken Giles showed as a minor leaguer. Ken Giles was an elite relief prospect and turned into a near elite big leaguer. None of them currently projects to be anywhere near the level of a Ken Giles. It could happen, but it’s not their current trajectory.

            1. If you want to check into a guy who could turn into the next Ken Giles look at Andrew Schultz. He has huge control problems, but if he figures it out, he has the ability to become another Ken Giles. I know that Alamarez officially stepped down long after the draft, but when they drafted Schultz (which I thought was GREAT at that point in the draft), I knew there was absolutely no way that Johnny picked this guy and I figured he wasn’t calling the draft shots any longer and would soon be gone.

      2. That Spencer Howard wasn’t listed in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s tells you a lot about this BA list.. Contrary to “the careful consultations with scouts and our research” that BA claims, the back 1/3rd of their list isn’t credible..

        1. Spencer Howard started in low A ball in 2018 as a former college pitcher and had about a 3.50 ERA in Lakewood and was therefore understandably well below the radar. You had to follow him and minor league ball very closely to know he had a ton of upside. It’s not surprising they overlooked him but, as is typical, they didn’t overlook him for long.

  30. I think they both should be higher, but I am not objective. I really can’t complain that no one else made the Top 100. I wouldn’t have put anyone there, and I like Stott. He just needs to show more. Why do the Dodgers have 7, and we have drafted well ahead of them the past number of years? That was a rhetorical question. If the BA folks thought Bohm could stick at 3B, he would have been higher. I can’t wait for him to prove them wrong. Not necessarily the BA folks, but all the “experts” who say he can’t stick.

    1. Because the Dodgers’ organization is, top to bottom, a better franchise. I think they are the best franchise in baseball right now.

  31. Does anyone have any idea whats going on with Yhoswar Garcia. I have heard conflicting reports about his age and wether the Phillies are still going to sign him. Also how much money do the Phillies have left from the international bonus money…there is some nice Cuban players that are available.

    1. About a month and a half ago, I asked Kiley McDaniel (in a chat) about Garcia.

      Hinkie: Are the Phillies still expected to sign Yhoswar Garcia despite the situation/suspension over his age? If so … will it be for less than the originally reported ~2 million dollar deal?

      Kiley McDaniel: We were told it was 3-4 years difference on age, so it’s likely 100-200K max, using other similar instances as a guide. Haven’t heard who is on him since that’s below our level of interest for int’l amateurs.

      Since this, I believe BA (I don’t currently have a subscription) reported Garcia was only one year older than the number he gave the Phillies. I think BA reported the Phillies would still sign him for most of the original offer. If anyone here has a BA subscription, they can either confirm or deny this report.

      As it stands now, the Phillies have one of the largest J2 budgets for the 2019 period. The Cuban players you are referring to are probably going to wait until the 2020 J2 market so they can get bigger offers from multiple teams (when every club will have new pools).

      The one guy I have heard linked to the Phillies for this current class is 17 YO Taiwanese RHP Po-Yu Chen.

  32. I actually like the current pool of possible bench INF – Harrison, Walker and TJ Rivera. The current OF group of Harper/Haseley/Cutch/Quinn/Bruce/Williams – looks set. We might see the end of Nicky Dubs in red pin stripes this year — Nick has no place to go. Klentak just need to extract value from Williams via trade rather than continue to degrade his value. If Szczur will not opt out, him and a couple of OF AAAA journeyman will be signed in LHV until Moniak proves he is ready to play in the big leagues.

    I’m actually optimistic about Haseley to contribute decently as a 8th hole hitter and play a decent CF. 2020 will be Quinn’s make or break season. Quinn has a game changing ability so there’s still some hope he can contribute after years of frustrating the fans.

  33. Does Nick Williams have options left? If so, he will be at LHV with the hope his trade value increases so he can be part of the July trade to come. I can’t believe he has no value. but I also can’t believe he wasn’t traded this off season.

    1. Matt I think what you’re seeing with guys like Nick Williams and why he might not have any trade value is that there are always a plethora of those AAAA guys and veterans on the market for nothing more than an MiLB contract and an invite to ST.

      He may have an option or two left but I think most orgs are probably filled with his type. Unfortunately for Nick he doesn’t seem to do any 1 thing extraordinarily well.

      As an extra OF you’d expect he could play all 3 OF positions. He cannot. In fact he doesn’t even play a corner all that well.

  34. I’m not sure what value you guys think Nick Williams has. He’s 25, his defense is atrocious, and he really stunk it up last year. He has a career -2.2 WAR in parts of 3 seasons. Why would anybody want to trade for this? I mean, I’m pretty sure every MLB team has a player like this on their roster who is also frustrating their fans. My buddy, the Blue Jays fan, rags about Billy McKinney all the time. He wants McKinney to not start or get sent out of town, and he’s BETTER than Nick Williams!

    1. Billy McKinney!
      … time BA Top 100 player in 2015….MLB top 100 the following year.
      Like Nick Williams in some respects….has trouble with MLB lefties

      1. The Blue Jays recently have had a bad history with ranked OFs not developing: Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey

        1. Yeah…even as they are ranked among the elite prospects coming out of the hi-minors, the odds are still against prospects becoming major impact MLB players.

  35. If there’s one thing I’m confident about regarding Joe Girardi, it’s his handling of the bullpen. We share concerns about its makeup and understandably so. But with Joe G pushing the buttons and Bryan Price whispering sweet nothings into their ears, these ne’er-do-wells may turn out to be an asset to the Phillies this season.

    1. If they all remain healthy…starting with Seranthony…I can see that happening.
      Then there are the group coming up…Garcia, Brogdon, maybe Dohy, Hammer and Romero….if they can continue to progress and remain intact, then there could be some good times ahead.

    2. That would be great. If Arrieta pitches like a 3/4, Nola and Wheeler are as advertised and one of Pivetta, Velasquez or Eflin can pitch like a 3 (and the other two are still useful in some capacity), we will have a fighting chance this year even if Howard isn’t a huge contributor.

  36. Darin Ruf just signed minor deal with invite by Giants. He was one of the three best players I watched in Williamsport. The other two were Rhys and Richie Allen.

  37. Corey Seidman lists the odds:
    At DraftKings, the Mets’ over/under is a game better than the Phillies’ at 85.5. The Braves are at 90.5 and the Nationals 88.5. The Marlins are at 64.5, higher than only one team, the Tigers.

    Phillies’ World Series odds. They have the sixth-shortest odds to win it all.
    Here is the Top 10:
    Yankees: 3.5/1
    Dodgers: 5/1
    Astros: 6/1
    Braves: 11/1
    Nationals: 14/1
    Phillies: 18/1
    Mets: 20/1
    Twins: 20/1
    Red Sox: 22/1
    Cubs: 22/1

    By this odds maker….the Phillies are projected to be in the play-offs…..4th in the NL

    1. That doesn’t make sense. How can they project the Mets to win more games (making the Phillies 4th in the division) and yet the Phillies are World Series relevant…???

    2. How can the Phillies be projected to finish 4th in their division and make the playoffs? By definition, if they finish 4th they cannot make the playoffs.

  38. 4 of the Top 7 are NL East which means that NL East will be a blood bath. The Philly sports team in general got hit hard by injuries in 2019. It will be ridiculous if the city suffered the same fate again in 2020!

    1. Yes……hopefully, the injury bug should have run its course and 2020 will see better health and results.

  39. I have been critical of the lack of Pitching reinforcements, but I think we are better than last year’s team. I think JoeG and the coaching changes are worth 5 games, minimum. I think Wheeler and Didi were very good acquisitions, and I definitely think we are over 85.5. Where that puts us, and what the increase in production will be from a number of guys, and what we are able to do during the season, and whether there is a BP to be made out of what we have, are what puts us into the Playoffs. A lot has to be played out, but I go the over.

    1. @matt13 – 2019 was like everything bad hits the pitching side —- no major FA signed, bad approach by the pitching coach and injury bug, In 2020, Middleton checked the 1st 2 boxes and injury — well, just hope bad luck wont hit the Phillies 2 years in a row. In addition one more year of development from Medina, Howard and Seabold makes them better reinforcements compared to last year. I still believe that the Phillies still need to sign another SP, but the current rotation should be better than 2019. On the batting side – Didi and Haseley replaced Cesar and Franco so that’s another plus.

  40. Padres and RedSox are reportedly in “ongoing” talks regarding a Betts to SD for a package of young talent surrounding Will Myers.

  41. SD has a lot of young highly regarded prospects, but I cannot see how the RedSox would trade a talent like Mookie Betts. Nothing they get replaces him, and the Myers contract makes the need for a return to practically double. If this was us, our fan base would be ballistic. That is even assuming that all the prospects coming back can actually play, and that is a big assumption. KuKo, I think the two major injuries last year were Cutch and David Robertson, and they killed us. Robertson was to be a major “high leverage” BP arm, and was never replaced, and Cutch’s leadership and ability to produce batting lead off was never replaced, although 5 or 6 guys got to try batting lead off. The production was terrible after him. Hopefully, he remains healthy and a set up BP arm emerges for us.

    1. I’m actually not overly concerned about the bullpen this year – except for the Closer. Neris is a roller coaster ride and he will cost the Phillies a lot of close games if they cannot find someone who can handle the pressure because Neris can’t. I hope Seranthony bounce back strong in 2020 because he got the stuff and mindset to be a shut down closer. I also believe that DLS-Medina-Vinny-Pivetta will look good as high leverage arms that can pitch multiple innings. Not to mention a pool of MLB ready pen arms in AA/AAA.

      The position players are OK with me assuming that Harper-Hoskins-JTR provides the production from the heart of the order that we expect.

      The rotation is still the biggest risk for me — Nola+Wheeler is solid but not a fearsome TOR order. Eflin+ Arrieta will be a good as back end starters – so the Phillies need a steady #3. Spencer Howard rightfully fits that role if everything develops as expected. Pivetta is also a good bet to be a solid #3 – but we’ve been seeing the same script every year. Hamels is another, but Middleton is too cheap to pay him back.

      1. Since he turned the corner in 2018, Hector has been fine. He’s not an elite closer, but he’s basically been better than everyone else down there for the last year and a half.

      2. How is Pivetta a good bet to be anything? He was a bad #5 last year. And, look, I like him and believe he has potential, but he’s never pitched anywhere close to being a mid-rotation guy for more than a few starts. We can hope, but we certainly cannot rely on him.

        1. @catch – you probably misunderstood my post – when I said “been seeing the same script every year” – I mean that Pivetta is expected to pitch as #3 but always disappoint. I’ve been saying for a year now that Pivetta is a pen arm.

        2. His potential is akin to the declaration of “potential” by Pinocchio on the Geico commercial! Until he manages to get his head straight he will never attain it.

      3. Kuko, I realize that Bryan Price may be integral in revitalizing a few of the young arms, but IMO the ship has sailed as far as the “DLS-Medina-Vinny-Pivetta” experience as “high leverage” pitchers in any role. Do we really have the luxury and time to continue trying to “find out” which one of them might be a viable bullpen option, multiple innings or not? Any one of them could turn things around under Price’s watch, but do we use up half (4) of the bullpen slots on projects? I’d rather not.

        1. @8mark – i disagree especially for DLS (24 yo) and Medina (23 yo). These duo are still young and were not given enough opportunities yet in the MLB to find out if they are legit as SP, RP or scrubs.

          As for Vinny and Pivetta – the ship has sailed for them as a reliable SP but RP – I don’t think so. With Price around, maybe it’s worth a shot to see if Price can fix Vinny and Pivetta. But if it is up to me, both Vinny and Pivetta are pitching from the pen a year ago.

    2. matt13…..”Nothing they get replaces him”….true, but anything they get will be better than the 35th pick in the 2021 Rule 4 draft as compensation for his leaving after this season..

  42. Romus, I get that part, but why wouldn’t Boston pay up for an MVP caliber player? This isn’t KC or Oakland or TB. He is exactly who should be built around, not traded and hope the return turns into the “next Mookie Betts”. Not that I care if Boston screws themselves. I am just speaking as a Phillies fan, and what I would feel if we were in that position.

    1. matt13….I look at it from the GMs point of view, the business aspect and long term benefit to the team….Betts would have been moved by December to who ever offered the best return. Once he said that 2020 is his last season in Boston , since he refused to negotiate a LTC, then adios amigo.
      Last July would have been the ideal time to get a killing from a contending team…but the Sox were still on the cusp of making the play-offs so that would have been a poor time to do it.
      As for Boston fans….they are pretty much immune to stars being moved out…Bruins…Joe Thornton, Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin, Patriots- Richard Seymour, Celtics- Paul Pierce… the list goes on.

  43. Joe G on Spencer Howard earlier this week on the Winter Caravan Tour stop in Reading:

    Girardi did say that the right-hander is someone that can help the Phillies at some point this upcoming season and that fans should be excited for him.
    He then noted that Howard was coming off an injury and only pitched around 100 innings in 2019. Girardi said that the 23-year-old could only be available to pitch 140-150 innings this season, to which (Scott) Proefrock (Asst GM) chimed in that he could possibly pitch even fewer

  44. A couple of things. First, Romus, I did not know Betts wanted out of Boston. Changes the whole scenario, and I don’t know how I missed that. My bad! Second, I have heard JoeG a couple of times, and he sounds great. So, I am really excited to see him in action.

    1. matt13….Betts refused to sign an offered LTC….and said he wants to test the free agent market.
      Whether or not that means he wants out of Boston, I do not know..
      But once he refused to sign the offer they made, then that is somewhat of an indication he will probably not be back….since they are already up against their CBT and his contract can be up there in the stratosphere area.

      1. It’s not uncommon as only pitchers and catchers sign extensions typically because of injury risk. There’s no reason for a player like Betts to sign an extension. He could end up staying there in Boston, although it seems like they need to lower their payroll which makes it unlikely. This makes a trade very difficult too.

  45. and… (drumroll…) the news we’ve all been waiting for… (worthy of another drumroll…)


    Bartolo is NOT ready to retire! Sign him up! Who wouldn’t love to have this guy around Spring Training, come on!

    In all seriousness, though, the final move the Phils could make to put a smile on my face is inking Taijuan Walker, who is the walking, talking definition of a low-risk, high-reward signing. I know his injury history is what is keeping him lingering on the FA shelf, and the odds are against him to be a real contributor in 2020. But, for a million bucks or so, wouldn’t YOU want to be the team to take the chance and see if he can finally put it together?

  46. In the FWIW department, Nick Pivetta has been working out this winter with the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Jack Flaherty and Lucas Giolito. Hope some rubs off….

  47. 8mark, it has seemed to me that Pivetta’s issues have been more mental. I was one of those who counted on his coming into last season to break out, and I have hope that Price can fix what is wrong. No question, despite my wish that we did more Pitching wise this off season, if Price can fix either Pivetta or Vinny, that is a huge thing. Both have the stuff. However, as we have learned, it takes a lot more than stuff to succeed in the Majors.

    1. “Pivetta’s issues have been more mental” is like me saying, “my doctor doesn’t know anything about pharmaceuticals”. It’s part of the job requirement. Somebody better exhume Harvey Dorfmann and see if he can get inside Nick’s head. And the “he’s still young” platitude is soon to expire.

  48. I mentioned Harvey Dorfmann last year, because Doc gave him so much credit. I didn’t mean to imply the mental part isn’t crucial, just that he has stuff, and I hope Price can help him. I am, for sure, not counting on it.

  49. MLB Top 100:

    30. Bohm
    34. Howard
    87. Stott

    Sixto Sanchez Number 22, for whatever that’s worth.

      1. Harvey Dorfman was the name of the Tim Conway character in Carol Burnett show I believe.

  50. I’m glad we had three… Stott is headed into a big year for him… Out of spring training if he’s not assigned at a minimum to Hi-A Clearwater we may have another Mickey Moniak issue… Again; he struggled offensively at Low-A last season until the final two weeks.. Was it due to a long college/short pro season burnout? We’ll know about two months…

    1. You can’t form a real opinion about a college hitter from his first short season stint. People said almost the exact same stuff about Bohm last year when he had a bad debut and started in Lakewood – the concerns were crazy overblown as I suspect these will be.

    1. And to think just last night, he was I the news as LeBron passed him on the third place list of total points.

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