Open Discussion: Week of February 10th

Spring Training starts this week.  Most pitchers and catchers have already arrived.  They’ll start getting their physicals to be ready for the first official workout on Wednesday.

The Phillies have invited 30 non-roster players to attend camp with the 40 on the active roster.  This year the Phillies have invited about 40 additional minor leaguers to a mini camp.  If you count rehabbers, that brings the total players at the Complex to over 120.  The Phillies are also bringing in the necessary coaching and support staffs. 

I’ve learned that the Phillies will come out at 11:00 AM to do the camp drills and PFPs that fans have become accustomed to watching.  This will go on until until lunch.  The rehabbers and minor leaguers will fit their field time in around major league camp.  Early reporting position players, other than catchers, will probably take BP in Spectrum Field as they have in recent years.

If the mini campers put too much strain on the available facilities, they have two fields available at Joe DiMaggio Park across the street in addition to the 4 fields at the Complex, Spectrum Field, and the half-field in front of the stadium.

Free Agency

Yasiel Puig is the “best” free agent available.  He heads the list of “top” free agents still unsigned, he’s also the youngest at 29  – Brock Holt (32), Ben Zobrist (39), Jonathan Lucroy (34), and Russell Martin (37).

Of the 621 free agents I’ve been following, 74 remain unsigned.  But, 547 have –

  • 123 – Signed MLB contract
  •      2 – Accepted QO
  •      8 – Declined QO and signed
  •      9 – Retired
  •   22 – Signed overseas (China-1, Japan-13, Korea-8)
  • 383 – Signed MiLB contract

Winter Ball

The Adelaide Giants lost to Melbourne in the finals 2 games to none.

They took a 1-0 lead in game one but entered the ninth inning trailing 2-1. They tied the game when Ben Aklinski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.  Rixon Wingrove scored the go-ahead run on an infield single.  But, the Aces walked off in the bottom of the inning.  O’Hoppe went 1-3 with a walk.  Wingrove went 0-3 with a run scored and a walk.  Aklinski went 0-3 with an RBI.

The Giants dropped the second game and the series the next day.  They fell behind early and lost 6-2.  O’Hoppe went 1-4 with a double.  Wingrove went 0-2.  Aklinski went 0-1.  Mitchell Edwards went 0-3.

The Aces were paced by former IronPig Shane Robinson (5-10, HR) and former Phillie Delmon Young (4-8, HR).

The Phillies hired the Giants manager, Chris Adamson, as their manager in Lakewood.  In addition to 3 seasons as the Giants manager, he has also acted as an assistant coach for Australia’s national team.

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 1, 2020 – Reporting date for minor league spring training
  • 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 26th … 382 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)
2/05/2020 – Phillies designated RHP JD Hammer for assignment
2/05/2020 – Phillies sent RHP Trevor Kelley outright to Lehigh Valley
2/05/2020 – Phillies claimed RHP Deolis Guerra off waivers from Brewers
2/05/2020 – Phillies signed FA RHP Anthony Swarzak to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
2/05/2020 – Phillies signed FA RHP Blake Parker to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
2/05/2020 – Phillies signed FA 2B Logan Forsythe to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/31/2020 – Phillies designated RHP Trevor Kelley for assignment
1/31/2020 – Phillies claimed RHP Reggie McClain off waivers from Seattle
1/23/2020 – 1B Neil Walker assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2020 – LHP Francisco Liriano assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2020 – RHP Drew Storen assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/23/2020 – RHP Bud Norris assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/22/2020 – Phillies signed FA 1B Neil Walker to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/22/2020 – Phillies signed FA RHP Drew Storen to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/22/2020 – Phillies signed FA RHP Bud Norris to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
1/22/2020 – Phillies signed FA LHP Francisco Liriano to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST
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
1/02/2020 – Phillies signed C Christian Bethancourt to an MiLB contract w/invite to ST

207 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of February 10th

  1. Any word on whether JD Hammer was picked up? If not, I’m sure they’d keep him around. He could make 71

    1. JD Hammer’s 7- day DFA window is up until Wednesday……if no claims, then he could be back on a minor league contract.

    1. Joc only played CF in 2 games last season. Incredibly he was a 125 and 127 OPS+ player the past 2 seasons but his splits are terrible against LHP. He lost his arb case but is still due to make $7M

      Personally I would not be interested in him at that price as a role player. But obviously if you had a Right Handed corner platoon partner for him he could do some damage in our park.

      1. Dodgers….out of a Calif. HS, Pederson was drafted in the 11th round of the 2010 draft.
        Their HS draftees success…Bellinger, May, and Verdugo…all outside of the first round is truly remarkable.

        1. Note that because of the Dodgers name, they can probably get their share of HS players to bypass their college commitments in the later rounds. Definitely more so than the Phillies. It goes to reason then since they get more HS players, they will have more chances to hit on some of them.

          1. Guru,,,,,Phillies have had their share ….but in futility…Cozens, Sandberg, Stobbe so far, Luke Williams, also so far, Greg Pickett, Jake Sweaney and more.
            I have hope for Dom Pipkin…maybe Josh Stephen, Kyle Young and O’Hoppe..
            Their track record, nor does many teams, match up with the Dodgers in this past decade when it comes to that type of a draft selection..

  2. The Dodgers’ Ross Stripling has pitched fairly well over the past few years, around 3.50 ERA as both starter and reliever. And he’s cheap, and apparently available since he would have been included in the Joc Peterson deal to LAA. Anyone interested? He’s got to be as good as, if not better, than any of our present #4/#5 candidates, although I sense Eflin will have a breakout season.

    1. 8mark….you have been keen on obtaining Kris Bryant from the Cubs.
      What if he could get him from them, without giving up Bohm, Howard or Stott?
      And at the same time get some…. a number 3 for the rotation.
      All one would need to do is take on Yu Darvish and his contract, along with Bryant.
      Perhaps Theo could be tempted with a VV, Pivetta, Medina, Marchan and a Luis Garcia package.
      Theo gets the opportunity to retool with low cost players.

  3. Now that Betts deal is done, worth looking at it as a comp.

    I think that the closest comp we have to Verdugo is Kingery. But as said last week, you have to believe that first half Kingery is the real player because he was pretty bad in second half of 2019 (.230 BA with a 30% K rate).

    Jeter Downs is widely considered a better prospect than Stott. But he isn’t at Bohm level (assuming Bohm plays 3rd base). However, to beat their offer, you probably have to include Bohm.

    Hard to find a Phillies comp for Connor Wong. Maybe Marchan or O’Hoppe.

    So let’s say, to beat the Dodgers deal, we would need to send Kingery, Bohm and O’Hoppe for 1 year of Betts and 3 years of a bad contract in Price ($31 AAV).

    I don’t think many on this board would do that deal (I wouldn’t). But it is interesting to see market value for a premium guy. And that is only for a 1 year rental. If he had 3+ years under contract, the price would be dramatically higher.

    1. Yeah…agree.
      Not sure I would have made that deal.
      In fairness to Friedman and the Dodgers, they do have the issue of trying to win now after 5 years of first place finishes and no rings.
      And that farm system is still tops, with plenty of young prospects, so I suppose they risk/ reward is mitigated a bit.

      1. Romus, I understand it from the Dodgers’ perspective. They believe, probably rightfully so, that they can come up with another Verdugo. They have a surplus of OFs and want to win the WS, now. We don’t have the same ability to find and develop talent the way they do. Trading Kingery and Bohm for 1 year of Betts makes no sense for us.That doesn’t change the fact that there were moves we could have made that would have put us in a much better position than we are.

    2. This trade would’ve been appropriate for the 2010 Phillies, not the 2020 Phillies. The dodgers need the boost after coming up short over the last so many years. It makes sense for them to go for it. Can’t say the same for the Phillies. Now if they had a stacked pipeline, sure, I’d do it then but not now, when the system is so thin.

      To top it off, it’s a lock to be a rental, as Betts has stated many times he will test the market, so you can’t even woo him.

      Luckily, there are more than 1 way to build a contender.

  4. v1, I agree with you. I wouldn’t do that deal at all, and I don’t think many would. My, overall, philosophy with this current team is that we have to hope that Kingery plays up to what a lot of us feel he can be, and that Bohm and Howard are front line players. We have to hit on young players. And, I still consider Hoskins to be young with a high ceiling. As much as I want to win now, I can’t trade those guys, which is why I think we missed opportunities over the past few years to address Pitching. Anyway, ST is finally here, and I hope that most, if not all, of the things we need to go right do so.

  5. Is this the pitching staff the team is going with? If guys like stripling are available, then Klentak has to be trying to swing a deal, no?

    1. I don’t see Klentak exercising the energy to swing deals. There are never any rumors, no speculation, no leaks, no implied interests. Now maybe he is very good at keeping things hushed up, but I doubt it. Then again, who does he have to trade? He needs all of his bargain chips to compete. The leftovers after ST will be released, assigned to the minors or traded for cash or development players.

      1. I feel like guys like medina and Stott have value for non elite players in a trade. The hope this year is that with a healthy cutch, the offense gets back on track and wheeler gives us a second reliable number 2 type. Guess it matters what our goals are. Can this team win 88 and get second wild card? It’s possible. World Series contender? No chance.

        1. Offensively – Harper-Hoskins-JTR should produce runs. Hoskins cannot be the 2019 version of him. Cutch-Segura-Didi should produce within expectation and Haseley-Kingery should provide value as bottom of the order bats.

          Pitching will continue to be the enigma like Eflin-Pivetta-Vinny enigma. One of these arm need to pitch like a reliable #4. Arrieta and the other lower end arms can be the #5 which leads to #3 as the biggest hole in the rotation. Spencer Howard fits that need — and the good news is Howard is close to MLB ready. Hamels could have been a good insurance as #3 but Middleton blinked at the last minute. It will be an important year for Medina, he has the stuff to be a #3. Seabold I think is a #4/#5. Damon Jones also has the stuff to be a #3 – if he can control his pitches. Other than that, the Phillies internal option for #3 is shallow.

  6. Jim, I hope that Matt Klentak is a much better GM than a lot of us give him credit for. I really don’t want to sit through another wasted season. He was told to make the Playoffs while spending to the limit that was imposed on him. I think he really believes that the Rotation will be fine, as he either has a lot of faith in Bryan Price or VV and Pivetta, or both. He really believes that Arrieta is a legitimate #3. He thinks there will be a credible BP out of the various dented cans and bargain aisle finds that he has come up with. I sure hope he is correct. I do, because if he is wrong, and we don’t win, or he tries to fix the problems at the deadline, and doesn’t, then I won’t be happy with the team, but he will be out of a job. Then the next guy gets his few years to fix it, and we can be in for an even longer drought. So, here’s hoping he is right!

  7. I loved the Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius signings. I don’t like the fact John Middleton obeyed the luxury tax threshold. He didn’t have to smash the cap to increase the odds of the Phillies finally reaching the playoffs. He could have spent reasonable amounts on guys like Drew Smyly and Sergio Romo to aid the rotation and BP.
    That said … I do like the Bryan Price upgrade. Even back in September I was posting that the pitching coach hire would be the most important offseason transaction for Middleton/Klentak to make. I feel pretty good that Price can help improve Eflin/Velasquez/Pivetta. All three of those (still young) arms really suffered after the switch from Rick Kranitz to Chris Young. If Price can (at least) return those three to their 2018 selves, this club can win the NL East.

    Eflin 2018 … 2.2 bWAR, 3.80 FIP
    Eflin 2019 … 1.5 bWAR, 4.85 FIP

    Velasquez 2018 … 1.9 bWAR, 3.75 FIP
    Velasquez 2019 … 0.1 bWAR, 5.21 FIP

    Pivetta 2018 … 2.3 bWAR, 3.79 FIP
    Pivetta 2019 … -0.5 bWAR, 5.47 FIP

    1. Hinkie…hard to believe…2018 collective bWAR of 6.4 for the three amigos….2019 tumbles down the mountain to 1.1.
      Along with the FIP decline.
      That could be an anomaly cause by a different pitching philosophy.

    2. This s good look for the VV,Pivetta, Efflin argument Hinkie. Frames it up well. Here is hoping to Price correcting the ship. I’ll say he will .. it’s Spring Training .. what the heck!

    3. This s good look for the VV,Pivetta, Efflin argument Hinkie. Frames it up well. Here is hoping to Price correcting the ship. I’ll say he will .. it’s Spring Training .. what the heck!

  8. I look at the current rotation and it seems we need a 3 and a 5. #4 Eflin may outperform #3 Arrieta considerably, unless the latter turns in a healthy and determined walk year. Should Howard emerge as the #3, it likely won’t happen until the 2nd half of the season. Hopefully it’s not too late. Yes, there have been plenty of opportunities and candidates to sign as a #5. I don’t understand Klentak’s standing pat after signing Wheeler. At season’s end, let’s hope we’re not saying the same thing.

    1. After the Dodgers offseason, I’m more oK with seeing how this season shakes out before pushing past the “salary cap.” This team is a few parts away, with potential cheap fixes in Howard and Bohm. Possibly more. The “win now mode” is great and all, but it’s a hollow team slogan to me. This team,
      Needs more layers to it before it’s ready to win. Playoffs this year are possible, but a lot has to go right. Making noise in the playoffs … I’d truly poo my pants if they did. My expectation is 2021 at this point, and that’s gambling a fair amount goes right for the Phillies

    2. I’ve been reading a lot about Spencer and innings limits. I am glad that the Phillies are cautious and he probably should be on some limit. That said it should be noted that in the two months he was out last season he was shut down for less than two weeks and after that (as he has told me) pitched more than if he was back in the rotation.

      1. Frank:
        I think you are spot on.
        I remember last summer his father posting his shoulder was doing just fine and he was doing his share of bullpens while he was out.
        With that being said…..I also heard what Scott Proefrock said during the Reading stop on their caravan tour last month…..when Joe G mentioned Spencer could be a big part of their season pitching down the stretch….Scott P . interjected at that point, saying he will probably also be on some type of a innings limitation.
        So it may be up in the air on how far they decide to let him go this year.

        1. That is my take as well, (Scott P) on the innings limitation. People are forgetting those comments and penciling him in as the #3 or #4. If that is the plan, we could be losing him in August, just about the time we would need him the most. That is of course If he is major league ready and able to stick. So, I think you go into it with him as giving him some experience, but not counting on him for September.

      2. Mr. Howard, as I posted earlier – Spencer fits the rotation’s biggest need. Spencer’s much awaited MLB debut and success can absolve the FO’s lack of foresight in addressing the rotation needs. Just continue to stay healthy and we’ll see him soon in red pin stripes! I think Howard will get the call ahead of Seabold.

        1. Romus,

          No problem, but I did do a double-take wondering whether I had forgotten some post.

          Interesting discussion on Spencer Howard and how the innings limit will play out.

  9. Tac3…That’s the POST of 2020! Due to the poor player development / Drafting of at least the past 5 years, we need to be patient and see if the new manager/ pitching & hitting coach can make a difference with some key players…

    1. How does it becomes the post of the year when it tolerates failure and mediocrity? It’s been > 5 years with high draft picks and owners infusion of $$ and McPhail and Klentak still cannot produce a playoff team?

      Poor drafting and player development and drafting should result to McPhail and Klentak getting fired and not extended.

      The post of the year is Middleton chickened out of his pursue of a WS contending team, Middleton could simply undo these years of failure by firing McPhail and Klentak but he didn’t.

      1. Its okay Baseball is looking to expand the playoffs. If it goes to 20 teams, we might make the playoffs.

  10. But Tac3, that let’s them off the hook. 2022? 10 years of failure? I don’t trade Bohm or Howard, at all. I don’t think we become the best team in the league with a move or 2. But, there were also deals to be made that put us in a better position to make the WC, without spending $228M, and without giving up top prospects, or even the next tier of prospects, whoever you want to include there. There is value in making the Playoffs, even without an expectation of going far. There was no reason, other than an artificial one, to not addressing the SP and the BP. They believe in Bryan Price, and think he increases the performance of Jake and VV and Eflin and Pivetta? Great, but then put a better BP together than what we did. That didn’t require trading anyone. And, this is on Middleton. We will get to see how the season plays out. And you know, that come trade deadline time, unless we are hopelessly buried and become Sellers, we will be trading to get BP arms and maybe a SP, and we will be complaining about who we gave up.

    1. the point that the “it’s Ok to wait group” is missing is that they are wasting another “peak year” of their main core of Harper-JTR-Nola-Wheeler. These core players can make or break the Phillies season so why waste another year? If the Phillies wait this out next year, they are still obligated to pay the $200M++ payroll commitments. That’s $200M that goes out the drain if they don’t intend to contend this season.

      1. I prefer to think of it more as a “calculated” move than letting them off the hook. Go in with one last year in transition, see what the kids have, if in position at the deadline add. If not, find out all about the kids and go all in during the 2020-21 offseason. Truth is, LAD are stacked, and It is extremely unlikely “this” Phillies team will beat them or other playoff teams . Yes try to make the playoffs, but with this current roster. Making the wrong moves now, going all in, is not the correct move at this time imo. Neither is the Phillies pushing a “win now” mantra … please, not my first rodeo. We need patience until the deadline. I will reevaluate then. From there, let them have it. All is fair game at that point, from ripping the FO to Middleton to some poster named Tac3. This is my view is the best foot forward, with highest probability of success for the future. Time is pressing though, with the core. So they gotta go all in this upcoming offseason. The players, so they don’t waste a year, They’ll need to force the teams hand this year, which is also essentially their job … produce. Will see, but this rebuild will be defined by this deadline & offseason. After that … the team better be ready to WIN

      2. The counterpoint is we still have pretty good odds to make the playoffs/world series (see betting odds) and signing one or two players won’t really move the needle.

        Just because things didn’t work out with most of our young players last year that doesn’t mean we should all give up on them contributing this year. It’s amazing how many people complained about coaching last year but then don’t think players will show improvement under the new coaches.

        Lastly pretty much every team is under the salary cap. Most of us agree teams going over it aren’t healthy for the sport. Why can’t we as a group stop pounding on the phillies for not going over it. If you can’t compete at 200 million you probably can’t at 220. People are literally crying over 1 WAR players that throw 89. If anyone thinks 1 WAR is the difference between a 4 seed I don’t know what else to say.

        1. A healthy Cutch projected out to a 3.2rWAR player last year over 600 PAs… the time of the injury he was at 1.4rWAR… we are looking at almost a 2 game difference just for the one player.
          Having him back for 500 PAs could also make a difference in the final result

          1. Oh…..$20M equates to almost a 2WAR player…..$9M per WAR as Fangraphs has it formulated.
            The reason why I brought up Cutch.

            1. rocco:
              “I feel like a sneaky way the Phillies have helped us is the coaches they’ve brought in, the manager they brought in,” Realmuto said recently. “I feel like we have a lot of experience to work with now. I think it’ll help us a lot behind the scenes.”

        2. also, if a $200M payroll cannot increase your chances to contend — fire your FO! Guess what, Middleton did not so he will continue to bleed $$ until he realized that his current FO is inept and not good enough with the big boys.

    2. I replied didn’t post. I’ll try again. I think it’s more a “calculated move” vs letting them off the hook. Let this roster play till the deadline, reassess. Worst case, they go all in in the 2021 offseason. I think waiting to see what they have , and then adding to those players is the best foot forward. It’s not a popular choice; that I hate too, but to extend the window, it’s what’s best. I won’t buy the win now motto, but time is ticking on the core , so this is it. The team needs to be ready this Time next year or blow it up

      1. There will be probably a new GM in place, who will have their own new ideas most likely.
        So the clock starts all over again.
        There have been instances where the new GM…an older sort and experienced guy….will come in and make an immediate impact like Dave Dombrowski did with the Sox.
        So there is that chance of success…and I know…look at their bloated contracts now and what they are facing….well they won it…..teams like the Yankees and Dodgers did not.

  11. I think it would be a pretty low risk move to bring in Taj Walker on a minor league deal to see if he can regain his arm. He was a superstar prospect and is still young. Now he is still sitting on the market. Am I missing something?

    1. 14 teams in the playoffs!!! Wow … not liking that idea. Negates the purpose of the 162 game schedule, imho

    2. Another blind grab by MLB/Manfred to draw the viewership of non-baseball fans. They’ve already screwed it up by gross negligence, market manipulation and catering to the gen-Xers.

    3. This commissioner is really pushing the buttons.
      The ‘minor league team contractions’ of 42 cities, will be a hurdle in the courts for him alone.

  12. Look, I want them to be successful. I enjoy a summer with good baseball, and the only team I root for is the Phils. So, I want Klentak to be right. But, I disagree that spending $220M would not move the needle. I believe Betances will be healthy, and a big contributor for the Mets. I wanted him. We’ll see if I was right or wrong. Other BP arms were available as well, so the $16M we have under $220 could have been spent in a meaningful way.Time will tell. We can always hope the league adds the 2 extra Playoff teams for 2022, and get in that way! I am joking, I respect all of your opinions. Bossss is correct. We should have been able to be much better while spending $200M. That is the drafting/developing issue that still need to be addressed no matter how much we spend.

    1. matt13…as it stands right now Phillies rank 6th in payroll by Sportrac

      What is sad about that…..the Twins (17), Brewers (22), As (24) , Indians (25), and Rays (27) are so cost conscious on savings, but seem to be doing something right on the field.

  13. No question Romus, we should be better than we are without spending more $. But, we have not done a good enough job drafting and developing. So, while I agree with that, it is not the fans fault that our cupboard in the farm system and the young talent we have in the Majors isn’t fuller. So, ownership needs to over spend, if we look at it that way, to make up for failures elsewhere. Their job is to put a winner on the field, a consistent Playoff team, one that is consistently “in the mix” to make a run. We are a much bigger market than those teams you mentioned. If they could have done that while spending $175M, good for them. But, they haven’t. So, they need to spend to make up for it, while filling the reservoir of young talent, so they don’t always have to over spend. But, we, as fans, shouldn’t let their failures in accumulating young Stars, by growing them, be an excuse for not buying them.

    1. Yes can understand that.
      I think one reason why Middleton will probably make the FO changes after this season, if the team does not play in a play-off game.

    2. Fair points, but the two arguments have a middle ground. To compete long term you need young cheap talent, that produces … aka surely, Rollins, Howard. Right now, the only one who fits the bill is Nola. Imo, you can’t spend to correct your drafting deficiencies, you can for a few players, but not the amount of pieces this team needs to get into the top 4 of baseball. Also, with the team still having developing talent (Hoskins, Kingery, Bohm, Haseley, Pivetta, etc) you run the risk of redundancy at the same position. Ideally if you are buying your team, you plug in where your prospects aren’t , but we don’t know exactly who is truly a core piece. Is hoskins another Franco? I don’t think so, but we are not out of the woods yet with him. Same with Kingery.

      This team should be much further along with the time that has passed, and the money that has been spent. Welcome to being a Phillies Phan:)

    3. Look, I’d love for them to play post-season baseball this year, but I really just want to at least experience an exciting September – it’s been about a decade since we have had one of those and that would go along way toward taking the disappointing edge off this franchise. Give me something to hope for, Phillies!

    4. Matt agree with a good bit of this. To me, you build a consistent contender with a homegrown core, and pushing it over with FA. A substitution here or there in FA/Trades is fine in building up. Overspending in FA should be what pushes your team to the top, not to keep pace with the teams that have successfully drafted. If you are out spending everyteam in FA year after year, something is wrong.
      Middleton has a ton of money, so he has that covered, what he doesn’t have covered is the “Bryce Harper” in the Scouting dept. to build the homegrown core. That is really what this team needs now. You can only cancel out so many drafting deficiencies in FA before your payroll is bloated, and unable to keep pace/added needed pieces. The luxury tax is there specifically for a team like the phillies… it is forcing them to realize they need to do better drafting, coaching, FO.

      1. The problem with the Phillies starts with Middleton. The lack of success in winning and quality players produced by the farm should point directly to the FO —- the FO that Middleton hired (and extended) when better options are available.

        Middleton burning his $$ is him shooting himself in the foot by being blind to his mistake —- McPhail and Klentak.

        Business owners knows that the timeline to win in big market are shorter than the rest — Middleton knows that he cannot BS his way around after being a contender for the last 8-9 years.

  14. Tac3, I agree with you completely. I still am counting on Rhys and Kingery. Also on Howard and Bohm. I wasn’t pushing for Rendon or a trade for Bryant or Betts. I just wanted more Pitching. All the young, future, BP arms could go back to their respective levels, and we could have done more in the BP. A Smyly wouldn’t keep Spencer Howard from showing he belongs in the Majors. Pitching is where we could be better, on 1 year deals, preserving space for the future and being better this year. Anyway, they didn’t do that, so I have to hope Bryan Price finds something out of what is here and brings it out.

    1. I romanticize our prospects (including the ones prospects like Hoskings, Kingery, etc) a lot and always see glass half full when it comes to their success. I’m actually confident to say that 2020 will be the year when the farm can finally make difference and push the Phillies to the next level. I understand that prospect success is a crap shoot and the farm is void of top notch talent — but 2020 might be the year when the much “discussed” depth finally comes to the rescue whether actual performance in the field or just provide prospect equity for trade.

      The Phillies A grade prospects (Bohm and Howard) are close to MLB ready and fits the Phillies need (hitting for average and power and high grade arm). While the farm lacks SP power arms, they made it up with potential a deep pool of pen arms —- Medina, Jones, Romero, Brogdon, Dohy, Warren, Russ can provide that cheap but controllable arms that can provide value in trade and/or help balance the payroll.

      I think there’s optimism from the much maligned farm and pool of talents. However, it is prudent for Middleton and FO to hedge the high risk of trusting the prospects by paying out proven veterans.

  15. The 2020 pool of NRI’s is much much deeper than last year. Klentak has been historically bad in acquiring MLB talent in recycle bins or dent aisle. This might be the year where Klentak finally start to hit in some of the clearance buying that he likes to do —- Harrison, Forsythe, Walker, Betacourt, Szczur, Liriano, Parker, Swarzak can still provide good value for what they cost.

    IMO, the Phillies just need 1 more reliable SP (could have been Hamels or Smyly) and a steady closer.

  16. KuKo, good points. There is nothing wrong with getting guys off waivers or the DFA list. When we were good, JC Romero was DFA’d by the BoSox, and we picked him up. Great pick up. Then there was Scott Eyre, another good pick up. When asked, I think it was Lou Pinella, the Cubs Manager at the time, who didn’t remember Eyre’s name. But, he pitched well for us. Sure, some luck is involved, and we have had none under Klentak. Maybe this year!?

  17. The roster spots that pose the most concern to me are CF (Haseley?) and 2 or 3 rotation spots. The bullpen is like most others in MLB – a crapshoot. The prospective bench would appear to offer some veteran depth and pop. The manager and coaching staff bring credibility. (That alone gives me some hope for an exciting 2020.) Health? That will always be every team’s x-factor.

    This year’s other x-factors, as far as I’m concerned:
    A healthy Roman Quinn, Jake Arrieta, a consistent Scott Kingery from April thru Sept (preferably at 2b), Seranthony Dominguez’s arm, one veteran NRI who seizes the opportunity, and Bryan Price.


    1. @8mark – i think the Phillies have enough internal options to fill a steady back end (#4/#5) of rotation — Eflin, Arrieta, Vinny, Pivetta, Medina, Seabold.

      What the Phillies need is a reliable pitcher behind Nola and Wheeler (aka #3) – a steady SP who can pick up when Nola and/or Wheeler had a bad game, a steady SP pitcher who can hold the fort in a series when Nola and Wheeler are not scheduled to pitch, a steady pitcher who can pitch and avoid a 5-games slide.

      Arrieta should be that SP based on his price tag, but let’s not kid our self — Jake is trending down so he is really more of a #4/#5. A good and healthy Eflin showed that he can maul thru the line up when he’s on. Eflin has 4 CGs under his belt. I don’t want to put my trust on Vinny and Pivetta again which brings me to 3 internal options as #3 – Howard (easy answer)!!! Damon Jones (duh) ?!? and Medina (say what)???

      I’m still a believer of Medina although I can see the Phillies utilizing him more as a RP than a SP – this also applies to Damon Jones. But if Jones pitched like he started his 2019, there might be a strong push to call him up as a starter and leave Irvin, Ranger and Jojo as the lefty pen arm.

    2. and as for the CF, Kingery can platoon with Haseley if Haseley continued to be useless against LHP — so getting a solid back up INF can mitigate this risk (Haseley in CF) — we’ll find out come ST if Harrison, Forsythe and Walker can be that solid back up INF.

      IMO, SP (#3) and steady Closer are the 2 biggest holes. Phillies have enough depth in RP and good options for Bench guys.

  18. According to Matt Breen, the Phillies have realistic hope that David Robertson may be able to return to action for the 2nd half of the 2020 season.

    1. Jim told us that Robertson is at camp and already doing some light throwing. I’d actually try to extend him one year on a team friendly deal, once he shows enough to give some confidence that he can be close to what he was.

      1. Why would you extend a 35 year-old reliever coming off an injury well before he even got healthy? FYI – he was horrible last year before he went on the DL.

        1. Agree….let us just wait to see how he is at the end of September, before offering yet another contract.
          And pls Mr Klentak…no more two year contracts to relievers post 32 or 33 years old.

          1. Don’t need to do anything. They already have a $12M club option for the 2021 season if he returns and pitches well..

      2. @murray – the most the Phillies can do for Robertson next year is to sign in a minor league contract with invite to ST. The Phillies have influx of pen arms in the upper minors and some of them have good potential.

    1. Perhaps they didn’t release him? My first inclination after reading what is listed below is that they did release him, but I suppose that I may be mistaken.

      The Phillies have outrighted right-hander J.D. Hammer, the club announced. He had recently been designated for assignment. (mlbtraderumors)

    2. No they didn’t, they DFAed by removing him from the 40 man. If no team puts in a claim to add him to their 40 man (and they didn’t) the Phils keep him and send him to LHV. I’ll be curious if he gets a ST invite anyway.

      1. Correct…..I think today or tomorrow was the 7th day of the DFA process….so he can resign to play for LHV or even just move on to anyone giving him an opportunity in a big league ST camp.

        1. That is good…I liked JD Hammer, glad to see he is staying in the org….I think he just needs to come to grips with the new baseball…..that was a pun, get it?

    3. This is incorrect. Hammer was just removed from 40-man and the Phillies retains his rights (there are situations when players can choose to be released or becomes FA — maybe Romus can help) and JD Hammer doesn’t earned the right to ask for his release yet. This is all part of Klentak’s bullpen carousel.

      1. KuKo….Jim posted above:
        2/05/2020 – Phillies designated RHP JD Hammer for assignment.

        So under the DFA process there was the 7 day window where a team could be in a claim and work out a deal for him….that was up to today.
        No claims it appears….so his choice to resign back with the Phillies …a minor league contract.
        There are a few of these minor league contracts that have an opt-out date…after 60 or 90 days …and if he is not recalled he becomes a free agent.

        1. @romus – i thought there are # of years or # times being DFA before a player can chose to become a FA. Hammer, being the 1st time DFAd, i thought the Phillies still retains his rights and Hammer can only become a FA if the Phillies decided to release him.

            1. KuKo…I think this is the rule your are referencing:
              “If the player clears waivers, he may be sent outright to the Minor Leagues or released. Players with more than three years of Major League service time or who have been previously outrighted may reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency.”
              In JD Hammers case…he definitely does not have >three years of service time and assume he was never outrighted prior by the Rockies….so off to LHV.
              But he still could have the opt-out date in his contract…I think that is a club option.

            2. @romus – “Players with more than three years of Major League service time or who have been previously outrighted may reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency” — this is what I’m talking about. Basically, Hammer has no choice but to accept his outright assignment to the minors (most likely LHV) since no teams claimed him.

              I don’t agree when you said “But he still could have the opt-out date in his contract…I think that is a club option.” — I think this is incorrect. Hammer did not become a FA upon outright assignment so the Phillies doesn’t need to sign Hammer with a minor league contract (which may or may not include options). Hammer already had a contract with the Phillies when he was added in the 40-man and that will be Hammer’s contract until he becomes a free agent. So the Phillies still control Hammer although Hammer will be exposed to Rule 5 if not added to the 40-man by November.

            3. KuKo….you may be spot on on his contract status.
              I stand corrected. It remains the same as when he was added t the 40.

  19. On the bright side, JoeG gives a good press conference, and I am excited to see what he brings. Likewise, Dillon and Price. He said he expects to take it slow with Cutch, realized how important he was last year, and believes veteran Players need about 3 weeks to get ready. He also brought up Robertson, said that having him ready in August is like a big deadline acquisition. High on SerAnthony, as well. With all of my complaints about spending, and I stand by them, there are a lot of things that can go right without resorting to magic. Kingery and Hoskins play better for a whole season, Haseley plays average in CF, Cutch stays healthy, Didi is as good as advertised, and Price coaxes some quality starts out of VV and/or Pivetta. And, JoeG likes a different look in his SR, so don’t write off Ranger. I always talk myself into the bright side once ST starts, and this year is no different. Maybe we get a few breaks.

    1. @matt – 2019 was a total mess (i.e. injury, coaching and FO that mismanaged the talent) and I agree that there’s a lot of positive things that can happen in 2020. Here are things that I consider “plus(es)” in 2020:

      1) Wheeler – Klentak totally missed the rotation last year. We would like to have one more (Hamels, Smyly, etc) but singing one of the top SP is a plus.

      2) Howard-Medina-Seabold – one more year of development pushed this trio closer to become MLB ready. The Phillies reinforcement in 2019 is Cole Irvin who is way inferior that the trio I mentioned. The Phillies possibly moved on from de los Santos, but another year of development should make de los Santos a better option.

      3) RPs in high minors (Romero, Llovera, Jones, Dohy, Warren, Russ, Brogdon) – these prospects are not yet ready when the bullpen was besieged by injuries last year. JD Hammer, Edgar Garcia, Austin Davis proved not ready last year and another year of development should help them and the other pen arms I listed above.

      4) Hoskins – it was a bad 2019 for Rhys. The stats looks but but the tools and mechanics are still there so I think it’s fair to assume that Rhys will have a better 2020.

      5) Nola-Harper-JTR – these are the main core. Another year closer to their physical prime means a potential All-Star type season.

      6) Haseley – not yet due to be added in 40-man until 2020. Injuries forced the Phillies to call Haseley earlier than expect. 2020 is where I expect Haseley to be MLB ready so we might see a better version Haseley.

      7) JoeG&Price vs Kapler&CY – Kapler and CY set the bar so low in 2019. JoeG and Price should do a better job in 2020 — this is crucial because we might see a better version of Eflin-Pivetta-Vinny and others if Price can provide the touch and practical application that CY lacks.

  20. KuKo, I agree with you. Great point about the RPs getting another year of development, and they all seem to have good stuff with bat missing ability. 1 or more may transition well to the Majors at some point this year. I am a big Rhys Hoskins fan. I know he is a hard worker, continues to have a good strike zone feel, and I think post-All Star break was the aberration, and we will see the real Rhys this year, and he will resemble the first half of last year. Cutch will have better numbers from the lead off spot than all of those who came after him last year, and Nola, Harper and JTR will all make the All Star team. They are all reasonable.

    1. Matt………..Did you hear the yard broadcast tonight with Seidman, Salisbury and Ricky Bo? Ricky said that Rhys completely changed his swing. He said he saw a guy taking BP and didn’t recognize him. It was Rhys, said he is standing more erect and holding his hands much lower. I’m anxious to see him. Jim ……maybe you could offer your impression if it is a radical departure from his old style.

      1. I wouldn’t call it a radical change. His hands ARE lower, yes. But, it is more a return to his original, successful batting approach (hands, stance, etc) than what a relief pitcher calls “radical”. Yes that’s a shot at “ricky bo”.

  21. I didn’t hear it but I will try to. Thanks for the tip. Rhys has been working hard all off season and bonded with Dillon already. So, I am very hopeful about him.

  22. Odubel is in great shape, since his off-season was dedicated to being in his best condition so far, well at least since 2015. Hopefully , if it is LHV, he goes down there and does well…well enough to be a valued trade chip at least.

  23. Looks like another injury setback for Cole Hamels who’ll be unable to report to Braves camp on time. Shoulder inflammation.

    1. Yes, 3 weeks minimum, I heard. From throwing a “heavy ball” as part of his workout. I like Hamels, but I hope this becomes an $18M headache for the Braves.

  24. According to Todd Zolecki, Tommy Hunter passed his physical and is in uniform today working out under a big league contract. No official announcement from the Phillies.

      1. Article I ready said they moved Robertson to the 60-day DL to make room but didn’t think they could do that yet…

      2. Maybe a 60 day IL action…though I thought that did not start until the first game….but maybe they changed that now until the official report day.
        Not sure anymore about the administrative rule changes since they change every year now it seems.

          1. I assume that is 60 calendar days from today….so April 12 Robertson comes off…which he will not since he is not due back until late August from the rehab protocol …so he gets re-instated back on the 60 -day again, and then finally a third time in mid-June..

  25. Well, I’m sitting at the airport in Philadelphia waiting to fly to Ft Myers and the 85 degree sunny weather and I’m reading all of the posts I’ve missed the past couple of days. Here’s some reactions:

    Salary cap. Some irony that Middleton is limiting himself in personnel moves because of the salary cap because he created the problem last year with Harper who he insisted on signing. Irony, too, that Klentak is getting blamed when Middleton gave him so little salary room this season. Finally, as much as I like Harper, it might have been better if the Phillies had spread the money around on a couple or three solid players than one, hopefully, super star.

    Cutch. Lots of folks seem to be penciling him in. Not so sure of that. He’s 33, apparently not in condition for the rigors of play yet with some question of when and if he will be. Love the guy, but even a healthy Cutch at 33 might not be the guy who started last season.

    Seven teams in playoffs: No, No, a thousand times no. The playoffs are too long now. Respect the majesty of the 162-game season, or 156 if Manfred insists.

    1. I mean if we’re keeping score on signs I only put the Arrieta and Harper signs on Middleton and I’m not sure there is all that much to complain about Harper.

      I’m still questioning the Didi sign maybe we call that one a JoeG sign but its silly to have $30 million wrapped up in Segura and Gregorius.

      And then we can move on to the Robertson money and the Cutch money $28 million

      Fun times…

    1. I suppose Matt K. feels one of these four non-roster invites will supplant the Brad Miller role….Josh Harrison….Neil Walker…..Phil Gosselin……Ronald Torreyes

    2. I really have no trust in the Phillies’ ability to scout their own players – like none. There were three guys who really impressed me last year as value buys to possibly keep on the team – Brad Miller, Drew Smyly, and Corey Dickerson. I completely get why all of them aren’t back, but the fact that none of them are back, to me, continues to speak poorly to their player evaluation capabilities.

  26. Understand Enyel DLS will be down for 3/4 weeks….shame.
    Any ideas on how serious the injury is?

      1. Yeah.. saw it was his hamstring.
        Should get a week to 10 days in before they break camp….he is headed to LHV anyways I assume.

        1. Romus, I’d reset some of the forecasting of levels with some guys near the bubble. New coaching staff will have their say. Appararently Pivetta impressed Girardi on the 1st official ST day. Not that this would make him a lock for the rotation, but it does show that Price has already gotten to make his mark on Pivetta, I’m assuming others as well. Per G, Pivetta has shortened his arm, which is likely the result of Price. So looking forward to seeing the impact the coaches have on the younger guys like DLS once his hammy gets on track

          1. Lets hope the new coaches will prove to be the difference.
            JTR already mentioned he likes the experience they bring to the table.

          2. I would slow down praising Price. It’s just as likely that the coach Pivetta worked with during the off season deserves some credit at this early stage.

      1. Not surprising if he was a hot prospect during the Amaro years. The only decent prospect Amaro retained was Dom Brown, who tanked.

      1. I am not too concerned on Fangraphs lack of Phillies prospect participation…..Eric Longenhagen is an original Phillies fan and former writer for CA….and to prove against any objective bias he will go to the other extreme to ensure there is no perception of Phillies bias or partiality .

        1. Come on Romus. You think that he believes there is a stud Phillies prospect that he intentionally left off the list so as to not appear biased towards the Phillies? You really believe that? Take off the rose colored glasses. Our system has two studs and is very weak besides that. Even with Bohm and Spencer, it is a bottom 10 system.

          1. Yes I do believe he over-compensates the other way.
            He even mentioned the one prospect he over-played his hand on and was wrong,was Dom Brown. Had him pegged for super status, and he fell short.
            So I think he does not wan that to happen again.

            Now is there a stud prospect somewhere down the line he leaves off….maybe not in his top 100, but in his ‘Pick and Click’ segment I do think there could be one or two he rather not stick his neck out on.

            1. Take Bryson Stott….MLB has him at 87…..Fangraphs does not even have him in their top 120.
              What is that all about?
              he does not even have him in their 50 or so Pick and Clicks for top 100 for 2021.
              That makes no sense…..Stott not even a top 175 prospect.

    1. Bohm at 56 tells me that they weigh his defensive uncertainty against him, despite his considerable hit tool. Come on, hurry DH!

  27. Everyone seems to be high on Bohm’s hitting. The argument is about his ability to stay at 3B. If so, he is a Top 25 guy.We will know soon enough if he can play 3B at AAA. On Pivetta, he worked out in California with a number of guys that his Agent arranged. He. supposedly, re-tooled his mechanics. I hope he breaks out. We could use a change of luck. Arrieta threw with no discomfort, and feels he is ready to bounce back. Says he was working with one legitimate pitch last year, so I will take an average Arrieta season. There are definitely things that can go right without living in a fantasy world. It will be great if they do. If Pivetta can make the rotation, Vinny could be a really good BP option. It’s the start of ST, so this is my annual optimistic view.

  28. And, this just in, Roman Quinn suffered a serious wrist injury grabbing his bag from the team bus. He’s out 6-8 weeks.

        1. rocco…….no one touches the carpet….not even Normen the Floorman
          Did you see Chris Wheeler last year without his toupee?

      1. That it is going to happen is widely expected. It’s just the how. We all have fun with it.

        I entered the Complex this morning and loudly exclaimed, “Anyone who had Roman Quinn as the first player hurt in the pool, you have lost”.

    1. Vegas odds on Quinn just posted:
      Over/under date for first trip to IL – March 2nd
      Over/Under on games on big league roster – 69

      Odds on type of injury:
      On field 1-2
      Soft tissue/muscle strain 3-2
      Broken bone 3-1
      Domestic accident 4-1

  29. catch, you almost had me! On a real note, however, Knapp hurt first day and DLS and Victor Arano showed up sore. Both are down for a few weeks.

  30. Did anyone hear Matt Klentak’s press conference? What I have gathered is what we have all heard. He expects the team to contend. All teams, who do contend, need some things to break their way, and need good health. We have enough Pitching, both in the SR and the BP. JoeG and Bryan Price will make very positive contributions. Ownership will ok more money if a “baseball move that they like” presents itself.

    1. I was somewhat surprised to hear Klentak give any response at all to questions regarding any possible trade (ie KB which Todd Zolecki posed). He usually shuts that off with a “no comment”, although he closed with the company line that he’s “comfortable” with the 71 players in camp. Comfortable < thrilled. I get the impression that he's walking on egg shells around Middleton, who may have laid it out for him, in so many words – "find me a player worth exceeding the luxury tax and I'll pay him".

  31. I’m looking at the 2020 Phillies … and they seem like they SHOULD be a playoff team, but my hesitation is that the NL is not only a beast, but the NL overall seems stronger than In past years. More parity, it’s like 2 aces aren’t enough … you basically need 3. The 2011 team of the 4 aces doesn’t seem like such overkill anymore, but a slight advantage.
    I expect the NL East to beat each other up, but then I don’t see the easy wins from the Central and West. The Dodgers are basically WS champs at this point.
    The only weak team I see are the Giants. Honestly, I know it goes against analystics 🙂 but I hope girardi knows how to manufacture runs when the Phils have to face the NL East pitching staffs… it’s a gauntlet of aces

    1. A Phillies team that can manufacture runs would be a 180, I can’t wait! Imagine that hit and run, stolen bases, bunting, sacrifice flys, hitting behind the runner, a whole another aspect of baseball we haven’t seen before. Tac3……you have me excited now.🤩

      1. I know the “chicks”don’t dig small ball …:)… but I’d like to see if the new analytics approach is more effective against so many aces. Logic tells me they better learn how to bunt again.

  32. Did I hear Cole Hamels is hurt and has delayed his start to ST? Plenty of time for him to get ready but the Phillies may have dodged the injury jinx with this one

    1. Correct. It’s likely he’ll miss almost all of ST, maybe the entirety. Hamels has been one of my favorite pitchers for a long time, so I wish him well. But I won’t be crying over any misfortune for the Braves.

      I guess the ideal scenario is that Hamels would be cut by the Braves for some reason, only for the Phils to pick him up and have him pitch like it’s 2008 down the stretch. I know it won’t happen, but wouldn’t that be a fun story?

  33. Hunter, strained forearm won’t throw for 2 weeks.
    Knapp strained rib cage.
    DLS pulled hamstring 3 weeks.
    Neris not in camp, has the flu.
    Robertson 60 day.
    Quinn TBD

      1. I was replying to Jim’s comment.

        Hunter, strained forearm won’t throw for 2 weeks.
        Knapp strained rib cage.
        DLS pulled hamstring 3 weeks.
        Neris not in camp, has the flu.
        Robertson 60 day.
        Quinn TBD

        1. That was off the ESPN injury report of February 12 for Hunter. Said he is expected to throw off the mound in 2 weeks. Quinn was me “to be determined”, get it?

  34. IMO, the Phillies 2 biggest holes in the team are: a) SP #3 and b) steady Closer. Everybody’s favorite punching bag Nicky Pivetta and Vinny have the stuff to fill both needs. Is this the year that Nicky or Vinny finally proved their worth and make up for all the disappointment they caused the fanbase?!? These duo is the ultimate Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde of this team.

    If this is part of Klentak’s master plan – then we need to brace ourselves again…the signing of Wheeler and the positive development of Howard and Seabold should help the rotation, but Klentak needs to have more than just rely of luck that the prospects will just show up and become successful in the MLB. The Phillies still need depth in the rotation — Tony Cingrani is still available. I’m not sure about his health situation but if he can throw and available for a low value contract sign him. I like the Phillies to also take a shot at Henderson Alvarez for a minor league contract.

  35. MLB Network ranked their top 100 major leaguers.

    33 Bryce Harper
    (future Phillie Kris Bryant #34)
    41 JT Realmuto
    81 Aaron Nola

      1. Actually, Realmuto should be ranked higher than both Harper and Bryant, much as I like both. Nola? I have difficulty ranking pitchers with position players who play every day. That’s a matter of context. But I wouldn’t trade my ace with this rotation as thin as it is. Maybe if we had another TOR….??

  36. I have a problem with those rankings. They are entitled to their opinion, but all of Harper, JTR and Nola are too low. Nola at 81 is a joke.

    1. Maybe they should just go by an average of three WAR measuring tools,,,,Baseball Reference, Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus. Covers the whole gamut more or less.

  37. Hinkie odds on Phillies trade deadline acquisition:

    Yusei Kikuchi 15 to 1
    Archie Bradley 12 to 1
    Alex Cobb 10 to 1
    Yu Darvish 10 to 1
    Daniel Norris 10 to 1
    Jose Urena 8 to 1
    Jeff Samardzija 8 to 1
    Matthew Boyd 7 to 1
    Jon Lester 6 to 1
    Brad Hand 6 to 1
    Keone Kela 5 to 1
    Ken Giles 5 to 1
    Robbie Ray 5 to 1
    Mychal Givens 4 to 1
    Drew Smyly 4 to 1
    Mike Minor 3 to 1

  38. The Rays signed righty Brooks Pounders to a minor league deal. That means little to nothing to us, but I just love that name….BROOKS POUNDERS….oooohhh!!!

      1. rooc…funny…a buddy of mine is a retired cop…last name Crooks. Another cop…last name Heist.

    1. Great pitcher name. I was always fond of Josh Outman. How can a pitcher have a better nickname than “The Outman”?

    1. Hopefully, in ST he doesn’t say “if we don’t make the playoffs, we don’t make the playoffs.” Man, that dude soooo rubs me the wrong way. I wish he would get his patrician rear end out of there and just retire already.

      1. I think , both he and Matt K. realize this is their last hurrah if the Phillies fall apart and miss the play-offs again.
        For Andy, he is a few years shy of 70, so no big deal, he will just retire or do something else ….Klentak has a young family so he should really be vested to do it this year.

  39. Not sure if this was discussed here earlier this winter, but what does everyone think of the potential DH scenario where the DH starts but is replaced by the relief pitcher after the starter is pulled. I like it.

    1. That’s VERY interesting. It would certainly bring the “opener” concept to a screeching halt.

      1. Would also encourage the manager to bat the DH higher in the order to get more AB’s but then it becomes a potential liability later in games.

  40. Before I have my coffee this morning, I thought I would revisit the Bryant trade scenario. In order to avoid giving up either Bohm or Howard, I like the proposal someone (DMAR?) put forth a few days ago, offering to take on most of Yu Darvish’s salary. Here goes…

    The Phillies would acquire:
    3b/OF Kris Bryant
    RHP Yu Darvish
    + enough $$$ to cover Darvish’s salary and keep the Phillies within the 1st tier of the luxury tax (<$228M)

    The Cubs would acquire:
    OF Adam Haseley
    RHP Vince Velasquez
    RHP Francisco Morales
    SS Luis Garcia
    C Rafael Marchan
    LHP Erik Miller

    Even if the Phillies went beyond the $228M, they would still shed Arrieta's $25M after 2020, Cutch's approx $20M the following year. Didi may or may not re-sign after this season so there's no way to make any assessment on his $$ impact. David Robertson as well, to a much lesser degree, but it all counts. To re-sign Bryant, my guess is he'll command an AAV of $25M, doubtfully more, over 5-6 years.

    That would leave us with a roster like this:
    C JT Realmuto
    1b/dh Rhys Hoskins
    1b/3b Alec Bohm
    2b Scott Kingery
    3b Bryson Stott ('22?)
    ss Didi Gregorius (or Jean Segura again should Didi walk after '20)
    3b/CF/LF Kris Bryant (Cutch is likely gone following 2021)
    CF ???????? (here's hoping Johan Rojas is the real thing in 2020 and beyond)
    RF Bryce Harper

    Aaron Nola
    Zack Wheeler
    Yu Darvish
    Jake Arrieta
    Zach Eflin
    Spencer Howard

    A Bryant deal likely won't happen until the upcoming trade deadline. The Cubs are already itching to move him and also shed as much salary as possible. The longer KB remains on the block, the likelier it is that the Phillies will go for him. Taking the front office's words at face value (especially MacPhail's yesterday), this is the type of move they would be inclined to make.

    1. 8mark……if you are taking on Yu, with Bryant ..I would simply offer to Theo:
      1. 2 of the 3 amigo pitchers (their choice) –VV/Pivetta/Eflin
      2. Adonis Medina
      3. Segura……trade-off for Darvish’s contract
      4. And whatever catcher they want in the system , other than JTR.

      1. That works for me, Romus. Just doubtful Cubs would take on Segura’s money, but maybe they might in contrast to Yu’s.

        1. yeah…Theo wants to rid them of Yu’s contract for the next 4 years ($85M)….the irony of it all…he started to come around after the all-star break last year and was dominant like his old self.
          Segura, otoh, is half Yu’s salary and one year shorter….3 yrs-$42M.

      2. Do you realize how bad of an offer this is? No deals are happening because we’re not trading Bohm or Howard. End of discussion. No one else we have provides enough value. Other teams don’t value our random prospects

        1. Seriously, do you realize how many GMs want to get rid of bad long-term contracts!
          And what they will sacrifice just to do that.
          Just look at Betts/Price trade to start….both possible HoF nominees one day…for literally a prospect with ONE MLB season…there are no guarantees Verdugo ever amounts to the star level of Betts.

          1. I agree, Romus. The value of prospects is mitigated by the value (or lack thereof) of bloated contracts which GMs AND OWNERS would prefer to be rid of. The situation/timing of each case will determine whether a team like the Cubs would accept lesser talent to shed salary. And the Phillies are in a unique situation, a big market team able to spend/manage the extra $$$ that many other teams cannot. In other words, the Bryant market is very narrow considering the risk of acquiring a 2 year player for comparable young talent in return, and the capacity to extend him at a considerable AAV.

            1. I’ll say in here. I like the creativity, I just don’t see the cubs taking this offer when they have Braves & Nats also in the running for a 3B upgrade. I don’t see this deal beating out other teams. If you don’t want to give up Bohm or Howard, it turns to Kingery imo.

              Segura is nice swap for darkish, but how does darkish salary impact signing our own players? Money is tight already. I’d pass on taking darvish and Bryant’s salaries on

            2. Tac3, the Braves historically don’t play the big market sweepstakes. To give up the young talent when they likely wouldn’t be able to re-sign Bryant doesn’t compute, which is why (I think) they are reportedly out of those talks. Nats? Not sure if they’re in financial position to go long term either. That’s debatable. Plus the Phillies have the Boras/Harper influence in their favor, in my opinion.

            3. One other thing I’ll add, what if Arrietta has a monster year, or at least the type of year that makes you want to keep him.? 16 wins, with some dominant stretches. Not Ace level, but a strong #2. That could be a big curveball as many of us are counting on dumping him after this season

            4. Tac3….even if Arrieta has a career year……you must stay the course and let him walk in order to keep some sense of fiscal sanity going into the next season..

          2. My question is why do GM’s enter into what seemingly is so many bad long term contracts? The Arenado contract was still in childbirth when they were scrambling to unload it and the player was producing. Darvish, Price, Howard, Bryant, etc. are all contracts that GM’s seem to want to jettison. Is 1 or 2 good years out 5 or 6 years worth the long term contract even if you win the WS? What if you just make the playoffs with them and go no further or if you don’t make it at all. What if they only produce at average or subpar, I am thinking of Stanton? Is it detrimental to even expose yourself to anything more than 3 or 4 years.

            1. Jim…I think there may be a few good reasons why they force themselves to under take LTCs.
              For one….the chance to win it all in the immediate present, but after 2 to 4 years of falling short…then the contract becomes an albatross since the player is aging and production is also declining..
              Secondly….the perception of goodwill, to further enhance a team’s ability to attract future free agent stars…especially if a team is willing to go out on a limb for past free agents.
              There may be more reasons, who knows, maybe based on certain team ownership philosophies..

  41. Spring training will certainly have some interesting story lines. Can Bryan Price make a difference? Does Pivetta look different after a hard working winter? Will Vinnie finally go to the pen? Will any of the retread pitchers look reborn? How does Hoskins’ new swing work? JT extension? Does a stronger Kingery hit better? Cutch healthy? Quinn stay healthy? Haseley look like a starter? Nick Williams traded? Harrison and Walker earn their bench jobs? Morgan, Hunter, Dominguez, Arano healthy? Did Segura lose weight and doe he perform better? Arrieta look good? Wheeler look like a beast?
    So many story lines….

    1. Murray, and who is the backup catcher? Does Odubel get a fair shot if he’s all grown up now?

      1. Backup catcher is do far down the line since JT plays 140 games. I’d say Knapp has the job if healthy, without a fight. If he’s out a bit, we’ll see but it’s unlikely they’d add a 4th catcher to the 40.
        You’re right that the Odubel storyline is interesting. Will he play at LHV? What if he hits and Haseley doesn’t?

  42. Martini and Gilbert our, Garlick in. He could be a useful bat at LHV if nothing else. Will Nick Williams really be sent back to LHV or finally get traded?

  43. Spencer Howard was reported to have tweaked his right knee and his spring training will be delayed. Any body have anything more on that news?

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