Open Discussion: Week of May 18th

I hope everyone continues to be well.  This is week ten of my self-quarantine.

For weeks now, the owners have been negotiating through the media with leaks by anonymous sources.  They have determined what the solution should be without talking to the MLBPA, and have painted the players in a negative fashion.

When they finally notified the MLBPA, public opinion was already set.

Since then, we’ve heard from some of the players – from the not-so-eloquent Blake Snell to the more reasonable Nolan Arenado with a Bryce Harper in between.  And fans have started taking sides.

The owners’ representatives want to confuse us by claiming that unrealized profits are loses.  They are not.  No organization will lose money.  They will just not earn as much as they had hoped.  That’s not loss, that’s life.  (Okay, it’s a loss on corporate tax returns, but try claiming a loss on your individual tax return.)

This seems like “owner entitlement” or “owner privilege”.  Billionaire owners are not entitled to make money.  But, they manage to get cities and states to build them palaces to play their games.  They demand that governments provide tax breaks and even archaic antitrust immunity.

I’ve been both a union rep and a mid-level manager.  I have always thought that athletes are paid too much to play a game.  But, I also realize that the players are the attraction on the field.  They are the reason that the stadiums are built.  They deserve to be paid what their contracts say they are worth.  They shouldn’t have to give back any of the rights they’ve won through past negotiations.

This disagreement will be settled.  The players will eventually cave in.  Their playing careers have a short shelf life.  The union will probably negotiate some small thing that they claim as a victory (like selling out amateurs some more).  And, the owners will get back any money they think they lost from the players, fans, local governments, and whoever else they can extort.

This is an example of how they will get the players.  The link also explains why the owners decided on home parks rather than the “Arizona Plan”.  (spoiler alert, money)

The owners also provided their proposed protocols addressing health concerns to start the baseball season.  Of course, this was leaked to the media days before it was released to the players.

I’m probably less invested in the start of baseball than most of you.  It will only bring back the Phillies and 29 other major league teams.  The baseball I like to watch occurs at the Complex and at Spectrum Field.  That isn’t likely to occur until maybe next spring.

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

Key Dates:

  • June 10-11, 2020 – Amateur Draft
  • June 14, 2020 – Beginning of signing non-drafted players
  • July 2, 2020  – January 15, 2021 – Start of the international signing period

The rosters and lists are up to date as of May 18th … 378 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)
  • 5/15/2020 – OF Felix Reyes assigned to DSL White
  • 5/15/2020 – RHP Edgar Zuniga assigned to DSL White
  • 5/15/2020 – SS Erick Barria assigned to DSL White
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL Red released LHP Jose Palacio released (2/18/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL White released INF Victor Alfonso (2/17/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL White released RHP Norman Anciani (2/18/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL White released RHP Fausto Pediet (2/18/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL White released RHP Luis Vegas (2/18/20)
  • 5/07/2020 – RHP Jason Lott assigned to GCL Phillies East

59 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of May 18th

  1. Question – is the minor league season contingent on MLBs decision? I’d imagine fans may be easier as the stadiums are smaller etc

    If i can’t have Mlb, i hope to watch the tulsa drillers

    1. The MiLB season is contingent on the MLB. All the players are under contract to the ML organizations. Tulsa and the other affiliates can’t operate unless the ML is going to front the players.

    1. Depending on the state, maybe not. It’s considered elective surgery and many states put those on hold. Could be wrong.

      1. Perhaps Seranthony will not need the traditional TJ surgery.
        His tendon’s issue, based on the initial PRP tried last summer, indicates the tear was not complete.
        I assume it was frayed to some degree, since all UCL issues are different.
        If he has not incurred further tearing to the point of a rupture, maybe they will go with a Primary Repair surgery.
        Less invasive, no hole drilling in the bones to tie in the new tendon tissue….and recover time is a lot less.
        From what I have read, the procedure requires a small piece of super strong collagen-coated tape, which is attached directly to the UCL.
        The collagen aids in the healing process.
        For six weeks the arm is in brace but there are specific rehab exercises to be done.
        He can begin throwing at 10 weeks vs the 18 week timeline for the traditional TJ surgeries.
        They do this surgery also at the Andrews Sports Medicine Center in Alabama,
        …where I believe he was evaluated last summer.

        1. Romus … Thanks for that info. I’m not sure if you are a doctor (or even just play one on TV), but that is some impressive knowledge!!! Thanks again. Would love to see Ser Ant’ny healthy and throwing again ASAP.

          1. Hinkie….just happen to read about that latest procedure…fairly new …just 2/3 years into it now.
            Like you, waiting to hear about Seranthony and what he definitely will decide to do.

            1. Not sure how it works….but if team docs suggest a pitcher have the TJ surgery,
              but just to make sure and get a second opinion, as they always offer, from Dr James Andrews and a pitcher gets the second opinion and Dr Andrews also suggests a TJ at this point is necessary after the PRP failed.,
              …..is Seranthony obligated to have the surgery?
              Can he refuse?
              He seem to be hesitant and cautious about it, back in March

  2. Jim; some MLB facilities if Florida are starting to open back up for the players to workout/train. Any news on the Phillies?

    1. The clubhouse is still closed. Weight room opened this week. M & Th only but may open up more next week (Spe was super excited about this!). They have been using the back fields but main field opening soon. He’s been throwing up/down bullpens which to me means it’s getting closer…I miss baseball.

  3. Three weeks ahead of this year’s five round draft. The Phillies are without a second round pick because Zack Wheeler was anchored with a QO by the Mets. Here are the Phils’ picks and the bonus slot attatched:

    1st round (15th overall) $3,885,800
    3rd round (87th overall) $689,300
    4th round (116th overall) $497,500
    5th round (146th Overall) $371,600

    That totals $5,444,200. The club can spend an additional $272,210 (5% overage) w/o losing future picks. That means Matt Klentak and new Amateur Scouting Director Brian Barber have a grand total of $5,716,410 to spread over four draft picks.

    Here’s what I think the Phillies will probably do:

    * They’ll draft a college player in round one. History tells us it will likely be a position player. The Phillies will get a hefty discount (up to one million dollar savings) on the college guy. Even though the NCAA bestowed an extra year of eligibility, these dudes will most likely have less leverage for next June’s draft. They’ll be a year older, another class of HS and college players will be available, and the bonus slots are not going up.

    * The Phils will use the money saved in round one (plus their 5% overage allowance – 272 thousand dollars) to draft one or two higher upside prep, JUCO, or injured college player(s) in rounds three thru five.

    The Phillies draft could look something like this:

    ROUND ONE: (Klentak and new Amateur Scouting Director Brian Barber will hope one of Arkansas OFer Heston Kjerstad or NC State C Patrick Bailey slide to them. Neither probably will. Oklahoma RHP Cade Cavalli makes sense, but I think he’ll probably also be gone. So …)

    Austin Wells C Arizona … makes a ton of sense for the Phillies at 1-15. Barber was part of the NYY’s scouting department that picked the Wildcat’s backstop in the 35th tound of the 2018 draft. Wells comes with a proven collegiate track record. He slashed .353/.462/.552 as a freshman and .375/.527/.589 as a soph this year. In addition, the LH hitting catcher was one of the top two offensive performers on the Cape last summer (.308/.389/.526, 7 HR with a wood bat there). Like Bryce Harper and Bryson Stott, Wells is a former Las Vegas HS star.

    ROUND THREE: Hugh Fisher LHP Vanderbilt … was considered a potential first round pick for 2020 before falling victim to TJ about eight months ago. The lanky (6’5″, 190 lb) lefty features a mid 90’s FB, plus SL, and an avg CH all from a funky lower slot delivery. At Vandy, Fisher has totaled just 44 IP, 37 H, 27 BB, 54 K.

    1. ROUND FOUR: Sabin Ceballos SS Puerto Rico Baseball Academy … is a young and big SS with a cannon for an arm. The 6’3″, 180 lb native of PR is only 17 YO, and won’t turn 18 until the fall. Despite his size, Ceballos is a plus defender at short, and his throws across the diamond have been clocked at near 100 MPH. Offensively, he currently is a gap to gap hitter, but as he matures/gets stronger, it’s not hard to project above avg power.

      ROUND FIVE: Carson Ragsdale RHP South Florida … is a long and lean (6’8″, 225 lb) thrower right in the backyard (Tampa) of the Phillies Clearwater complex. He creates a steep downplane with his 91-94 mph fastball, and also pounds the zone with a 78-80 mph hammer curveball. Ragsdale missed some of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season with TJ. He made four starts this year (19 IP, 12 H, 7 BB, 37 K). His final start was his best ever. He came this close (holding my thumb and index finger almost together) to upsetting Florida (#1 team in the nation) by going 4 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 BB, 10 K. Ragsdale has also played some 1B for the Bulls (3 career HR’s). Now that he’s fully healthy again, begins filling out, and focuses only on pitching, he has a chance to take off as a pro.

      Here’s what all the accounting could look like:

      Round 1) Austin Wells slot $3,885,500, bonus $2,950,000
      Round 3) Hugh Fisher slot $689,300, bonus $1,700,000
      Round 4) Sabin Ceballos slot $497,500, bonus $650,000
      Round 5) Carson Ragsdale slot $371,600, bonus $371,600

      That’s a total allocation of $5,671,600 out of a possible $5,716,410 that the team can spend.

      1. Hinkie….hopefully Sabin Ceballos is there at 116.
        Cannot help to think he looks similar to another PR kid from a few years back, Carlos Correa. Same size with howitzer arms across the diamond.
        But I will temper my enthusiasm if he is there and the Phillies do select him…the last two guys from the PR that had me salivating….Jesmuel Valentin and Jan Hernandez….left me dry in the mouth. Maybe three would be a charm.

      2. Very interesting, with the exception of the righty whose FB sits at 91. That is a well below average FB for a big league right. I am also wary of projecting velocity increases for pitchers – I don’t think anyone knows whose velocity will increase, decrease or stay the same – it’s very random. I’d be fine if they sign this guy as a FA, but I would be reluctant to use a pick on him, regardless of how good his curve might be.

  4. Can’t wait to talk and watch baseball again. I think the players are posturing and will eventually give in a little which will require the owners to give in a little. I could see something like taking a 20% cut to their prorated salary. However, I think the players will push for more games to recover some of that money. I could see the players push for weekly doubleheaders to get to 100 games. Do the math and it would cover the 20% cut. With the 50 man squad, 30 will be active each game and all will play with few days off.
    Minor leagues will be shut down. Some of the 50 will remain in Cwater to stay in shape. Hopefully we’ll get to see Howard and Bohm play. I guess it was a good year to bring to camp so many 4A guys, they’ll all be able to stay on the 50.

  5. Jim…………….I’d like to change my PP Name to Skeet. Respectfully, I think there should only be one Jim on this site. Thanks for all you do!

  6. With all the imminent changes ushered in all the more rapidly with Covert-19 and the impending CBA, it’ll be interesting to see how dramatically the future state of the game will be impacted.

    The DH has been the most obvious for a while now. As a purist, I reluctantly resign myself to it, especially when watching 99% of the pitchers waving perfunctory swings just to get over with the automatic out. But making it universal is a no-brainer.

    Roster construction is another. I would keep major league rosters at 30 (assuming that’s the number settled upon) while still dressing only 25. It makes little sense to me in yo-yo-ing young players up and down when useful journeymen can fill the same role. Scheduling 7 inning double headers could facilitate a shorter schedule instead of playing games in 40 degree temps, or even snow in late March/early April. Or perhaps someone has a better suggestion…

    Unpopular as it may be, even in the year 2020, the distinction between American League and National League has (IMO) become way too much of a sacred cow. I would prefer to see geographic rivalries foster more fandom where it’s been waning fast. Plus the limit of traveling may serve greater purposes as well.

    Meanwhile, I am on board with the 3 batter minimum, enforced time between pitches on both batter and pitcher, as well as free replay decisions. Pretty much anything to improve the pace of a game. I enjoy long baseball games when they are crisply played, managed and officiated.

    LET’S PLAY BALL!

    1. I can live with the DH coming to the NL but I can’t stand the idea of 7 inning double headers. Stupid idea that they say comes from the minors. However, even in the minors they play 9 innings first and then 7 in game 2. A roster of 30 could work. If you can choose your 25 each day, an idea I’m ok with, 4 starting pitchers will be out of the 25 each day. That’s 4 extra spots right there plus one reliever shut down each day to reach 25. Let’s get baseball going again. In a safe way!

      1. Problem with expanded roster is it will slow down the game as using situational hitters will soon replace lefty specialists. Now we can have a left-handed/right-handed hitting specialists and make batter changes in the middle of innings instead.

        Hate the 3 batter rule because it interferes with the game strategy for very minimal time benefit. There aren’t many situations anymore where managers are making multiple pitching changes in an inning. With starting pitchers only lasting 5 innings anymore, managers (except Gabe) can’t afford to use up their bullpen arms for 1 batter.

        As for the DH, I’m also a purist but it’s going to happen so they might as well get it over and make the change.

    2. “……….the distinction between American League and National League has (IMO) become way too much of a sacred cow. I would prefer
      to see geographic rivalries ….”,
      the latest two occurrences re-enforced a past precedent with the Astros (’13) and Brewers (’98) switching leagues, though at the time for other reasons and not increased fan enthusiasm over close proximity with local geo-rivalry.

    3. Agree with 8Mark about DH — hate it but it’s going to happen so let’s get on with it, and who knows, I might get to like seeing Jay Bruce coming up every ninth batter.

      Also agree about considering a restructuring of leagues, divisions, whichever. The old distinctions disappear almost entirely with the DH becoming universal. Better to see the Yankees come in more often than the Rockies.

      I really like the idea of a 30-man active roster from which a 25-man game day roster is selected. That’s much better than sending players back and forth to Allentown. We fans know who our players are and the players have a more normal life. It also could open a whole new fun subject for second-guessing the manager, such as whether they would have won that game last night if Girardi had just put So-And-So on the 25 man.

      Finally, nay to seven-inning games and to three-batter rules. Except for DH, let’s play by the rules we’ve known and loved for well over a century.

  7. For me with all the games and double headers to get in by October 1st rosters of 30 players still seem a bit thin.. But hey’ my roster concerns are manageable. I like the negotiation tactics the MLB and MLBPA are using to get the “easier” issues resolved up front before finances. I think it builds momentum. I do believe for the players to take a pay cut beyond their prorated salaries they’ll need more financial information from the owners on how game day attendance played a part in paying their salaries. The owners still haven’t provided the numbers and the players are due that information..

    1. Romus, I wasn’t aware that the reason behind adding the Marlins and Rockies was to help pay for the $280M collusion settlement the owners had to pay in the mid-90’s. I wasn’t aware…but neither am I surprised. Shameless.

    2. Count Las Vegas and Montreal as #1/#2 at the top of a short list of prospective cities, either for an existing team (Tampa?) to move, or an expansion club.

      1. 8mark…..it may be shameless, but the people of Denver and Miami did not mind. That is where the MLB kills two birds with one stone…..money grab on the one hand, and a welcome committee from the new city.
        I think you are correct….Vegas and Montreal appear to be the two headliners when the day comes for the next expansion..
        Though other cities I am sure will make their pitch and bid…to name a few that may….Indianapolis, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Portland, San Antonio and maybe Oklahoma City. They all have some billionaire who wants to get that MLB country-club

        1. Romus,

          NOLA, Salt Lake, OKC, those are really small metros. Portland and San Antonio aren’t huge, but they have growth.

          As for the folks in Miami not minding, they don’t seem to mind today, one way or the other. Must be the worst MLB town ever.

          Finally, I wonder how long small market clubs can hold out. Pittsburgh’s pretty small and it gets smaller every day, one of the few metros in the country losing population. Even greater Detroit is growing.

          1. Frank, Pittsburgh has two things going for it….well over a century of existence and one of the nicest ballparks in MLB. Unfortunately they’re ownership has perennially dropped the ball since the days of the Lumber Company, acting like a small market regardless of its growth or lack thereof.

            1. If we rank by size of media markets, Charlotte and Pittsburgh are larger than I thought. Charlotte is 23 and Pittsburgh is 24. Las Vegas is 39th. it does have the advantage of being a huge tourist destination, so folks from Denver, Phoenix, LA, would sometimes travel to see their teams.

              New Orleans is 50th. Just too small.

              Remember, MLB plays every night and 81 home games a year. NFL is just eight home games. All things being equal, baseball needs a bigger population base, and a bigger ADI (area of dominate influence, as in when Mets caps start being outnumbered by Phillies caps.)

          2. Frank,
            NOLA does have the NFL….they may want a MLB team also.
            Even Nashville could be in the conversation.
            If MLB opens up for bids…..I can see many cities putting their pitch in.
            But you are correct….many small market teams……and the TV market is how MLB measures the ultimate size.

            1. Romus, the big difference between MLB and the NFL is the number of games played. NOLA has the population and regional draw to fill a stadium eight times a year. It would be considerably more difficult to generate adequate attendance 81 times a year.

            2. Frank…yeah that would be a consideration….though you have to figure Baton Rouge …Shreveport and other the other Louisiana surrounding cities/parishes around NOLA would frequent the ballpark…..whereas in Miami I just do not see it.
              My Uncle is in Deerfield, north of Lauderdale and Miami…and baseball fervor just ain’t there come summer time…..I think there is more baseball fever along the west coast of Florida where you are, then the Miami-Dade/Broward area..who knows why!

    1. And having a NFL team may also be in their favor….same with NOLA and Nashville.
      Though MLB cannot afford more cities like Miami and Tampa with low attendance rates …though Tampa could pick up fan attendance with a new ball park, which has been in discussion and debate for it seems like a decade now..
      When the Rays do get to the play-offs they can really draw a fan base

  8. Not sure if this has been discussed but would the MLB consider going later into the winter and have all the playoff games in warmer climates like AZ or FL to squeeze as many reg season games as possible?

  9. Milwaukee is the smallest MLB market with a metro just over two million in population. Cinncy is next. They rank 35 and 36. Both are smaller than Columbus, a AAA city.

    Montreal all is a no-brainer at 4.3 million

    BTW, despite all the ways of figuring populations (and I disagree with the US government that has the 800,000 people of the Lehigh Valley as New York metro as opposed to Philadelphia), Philly still has the fourth largest ADI.

  10. Interesting thought to add two teams. With an odd number of 15 in each league now, adding a 16th team in each league would actually allow 4 x 4 team divisions in each league. They could easily keep 2 wild card teams with 2 byes for best record. That would mean 12 playoff teams. Other options would be easy too. Charlotte, Nashville, Montreal, Mexico City, Oklahoma City, and Vegas all possibilities. Raising money for the owners this way makes some sense.

    1. My realignment would break up the East from the West, 2 conferences, with 2 divisions in each – North and South.

      EAST North
      Boston Red Sox
      Cleveland Indians
      Detroit Tigers
      Milwaukee Brewers
      Montreal Expos
      New York Yankees
      Pittsburgh Pirates
      Toronto Blue Jays

      EAST South
      Atlanta Braves
      Baltimore Orioles
      Cincinnati Reds
      Miami Marlins (or Charlotte?)
      New York Mets
      Philadelphia Phillies
      Tampa Bay Rays (or Nashville?)
      Washington Nationals

      WEST North
      Chicago Cubs
      Chicago White Sox
      Colorado Rockies
      Las Vegas Rollers(?)
      Minnesota Twins
      Oakland Athletics
      San Francisco Giants
      Seattle Mariners

      WEST South
      Arizona Diamondbacks
      Houston Astros
      Kansas City Royals
      Los Angeles Angels
      Los Angeles Dodgers
      St Louis Cardinals
      San Diego Padres
      Texas Rangers

      12 teams make the playoffs:
      The four division winners get a 1st round playoff bye. 2nd and 3rd place teams play best of 3 games wild card rounds. Divisional rounds are best of 5. Conference championship and World Series are both best of 7.

      Teams play division rivals 16 games (8 home, 8 away) totalling 112. Each plays other division 6 games (3 home, 3 away).

    2. Mexico City?
      There would be a few more American cities I would entertain before thinking about Mexico City….though a 100K ballpark could be built and probably it would sell out and the TV market is huge down there. Financially it would be a boon..
      Same probably could also be said about San Juan, Puerto Rico which is 20 times smaller than Mexico City in population..
      But the baseball fervor for both places is strong

  11. Orioles cut 37 minor leaguers yesterday. Not a lot of details other than that seems like a lot for one day and possibly their realization that there will be no MiLB season and for some the gig is up.

    1. Hey all. Hope everyone is healthy. I just saw 8mark’s comment after Spencer’s dad’s post. ( I have gotten to know Spencer pretty well since last year and then this spring training when he and Mickey were rooming together… He is a great kid ..very smart and funny as hell!..good job mom and dad)

      Mickey has been getting on the zoom calls with the big league club since he is still on the roster. Obviously there’s a lot of back-and-forth about money with the players Etc but they definitely want to play. Mickey is itching to get back there and get started in whatever capacity that may be. I can’t believe he has been home for almost two and a half months! Although nobody wanted any of this, it has definitely been nice to have him home for Easter all his siblings birthdays as well as his mom’s and my birthday as well. And whose birthday for that matter! He has been working out a lot and hitting in the cage when he can. He Went and hit in mike Sweeney’s cage in his backyard the other day and has also been driving up to Orange County and hitting with the minor league hitting instructor who has a cage. He definitely changed his approach in spring training and I fully expect him to have a great year and get back to the high school approach a little more driving the ball to left center. The few games I saw him in spring training I could see he was much more relaxed and patient at the plate which is what obviously everybody wants. So more walks and better pitch selection. If I hear anything new I will let you know things get going in the next couple weeks.

      1. Matt, Thanks for the update. We’re all rooting for Mickey. Hopefully, he will have real games to play in this year.

        I wonder if the clubs will consider sending more players to winter leagues and/or expanding Arizona Fall League to get more playing time for prospects.

      2. Thanks for the update, Matt. Very encouraging on all fronts except for the status of minor league ball in 2020.

      3. He did look more relaxed in spring training and the results reflected that. I just don’t know whether he’ll be on the proposed 50 man roster or whether he’ll get to play anywhere. The minor league season is up in the air. I’m certainly rooting for your son to reach his potential. Good luck!!!

  12. I know a few minor leaguers from the Phillies organization and some players are getting high level check-ins multiple times a week and others have been home for two months and haven’t heard anything…. I think the Phillies along with other teams are in the process of doing a serious minor league player reduction..

    1. Let’s be real, most minor league teams have only a few legit prospects and maybe ten others who have a chance for a cup of coffee. The rest of the guys are just there so the prospects have a place to play. It’s cold but it’s how it is. There’s a good chance that we’ve seen the last of Williamsport and the 2nd GCL. That will be a lot of guys without jobs.

  13. Jon Heyman reports that there is optimism and an indication that both sides are prepared to compromise with the impending offer to be proposed by the league on Tuesday, citing that there much at risk for both sides should a 2020 season not happen.

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