Open Discussion: Week of November 16th

“There shall be no Competitive Balance Tax in place following the 2021 championship season, and the Parties expressly acknowledge and agree that the provisions of this Article XXIII (except those concerning the collection and distribution of the Competitive Balance tax proceeds for the 2021 Contract Year and the assessment of any associated penalties for exceeding the Base Tax or Surcharge Thresholds) shall not survive the expiration of this Agreement.”

The text above comes from Section I. the “Sunset” section under ARTICLE XXIII, the Competitive Balance Tax in the CBA.

I was reading through the CBA and the MLR and came across the above.   It made me think.  I thought it was odd that the Luxury Tax would have to be negotiated with the Players’ Association.  It seems like it should be negotiated among the owners since the ones who cry poor would want to limit the amount of money the “rich” owners spend.

Then instead of reading randomly, I looked for other indications that the poor owners are benefitting through the rich owners.

The most obvious example is the competitive balance selections that clubs are given between the first and second and the second and third rounds.  The ten teams that rank the lowest NLDR (Net Defined Local Revenue) and the ten clubs with the lowest Market Score who are not among the ten lowest NLDR (as defined in the CBA).  There is some overlap between the groups and about 15 teams will qualify each year.

A less obvious example is the Revenue Sharing Plan (Article XXIV in the CBA) where organizations put a calculated percentage of revenue (Blended Net Local Revenue) into a pool that is divided equally among the teams that have a Market Score of 100 or less .  The more effective businesses are therefore subsidizing the less effective businesses.  The Market Scores for each team are in Attachment 26 of the CBA.  (RANK. CLUB, SCORE: 1. NYY, 235; 1. NYM, 235; 3. LAD, 178; 3. LAA, 178; 5. CHI, 124; 5. CWS, 124; 7. TOR, 119; 8. WSH, 113; 9. PHI, 111; 10. OAK, 108; 10. SF, 108; 12. BOS, 101; 12. TEX, 101; 14. ATL, 96; 15. HOU, 93; 16. SEA, 81; 17. MIN, 76; 18. DET, 74; 19. ARI, 72; 19. TB, 72; 21. BAL, 70; 21. COL, 70; 23. MIA, 69; 24. CLE, 64; 25. SD, 60; 26. STL, 57; 27. PIT, 56; 28. KC, 53; 29. MIL, 52; 30. CIN, 51)

These are three examples of the cheap owners gleaning benefits from the other owners.  Of particular interest to me is that the extra picks do not come with additional money (other than that received in revenue sharing), but the picks are assigned a cash value that inflates their bonus pool allotment.  So, the teams that cry poor can afford to pay for additional draft picks.

Now, this brings me to another glaring example (in my mind) of the cheap owners exerting influence over the rich ones.  MLB is in the process of reorganizing the minor leagues.  They claim it is to improve player development among other reasons.  I believe that it is a way for the major league franchises to regain control and ownership of their affiliates.  All MLB teams owned their affiliates at onetime.  But, after World War II and by the end of the Korean War, ownership of a minor league team was losing money.  So, MLB franchises divested themselves of their affiliates.  Now, however, minor league teams are making money.  So, of course, MLB franchises want to regain ownership of their affiliates.

Whether what I believe is true or not, what is true is that running affiliates does cost money.  Money the cheap owners don’t want to invest.  But, they wish to limit the amount of money that the richer owners can invest.  So they want to limit the number of affiliates that ALL teams can have.

Of all the things above, I would hope that the competitive balance picks would be negotiated away.  I would have included the reduction of the minor league affiliates, but that ship has sailed.

In other news, teams must submit their rosters to the MLB offices by Friday for the Rule 5 Draft.

The Phillies are close to signing Caleb Cotham, a Driveline devotee, as pitching coach.  That would seem to cement Driveline in the organization from top to bottom.  It appears that more traditional pitching instructors have been let go when their contracts were up or offered buyouts.

RHP Gilmael Troya was released.  Troya was claimed during the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft in 2018.  In four years with the Yankees, Troya didn’t get above rookie ball in the Appalachian League.  He pitched for Lakewood in 2019 and went 5-0, 2.56 with 52 strike outs in 52.2 innings.  But, he bounced around among affiliates.  Looks like he was injured for most of the season.  He’s still Rule 5 eligible, and probably wasn’t expected to be protected on the Lehigh Valley roster.

Looks like the Phillies are going to interview candidates for President of Baseball Operations and GM.  Maybe.  We’ll see.

JT Realmuto declined his qualifying offer.  Noe surprise there.

Someone asked if I thought the Phillies would allow fans in the Complex next spring.  I honestly think not.  The Phillies love their secrets.  They didn’t allow scouts at the Alternate Training Site.  They didn’t allow scouts at the Complex during Instructs.  They conduct all business behind a cloak of secrecy.  I think they like the way they ran Instructs in a bubble.  I believe that they would like to do the same with spring training.  However, I also believe that they will sell a limited number of tickets to spring training games.  Of course, that will depend on what happens with COVID and what MLB and the Players’ Association agree to do regarding next season.  Sorry.

Okay, I’m looking for suggestions on how to come up with a Readers’ Top 30 this year.  It would be difficult to conduct polls since most prospects did not play.  But, we’ve added 4 new draft picks, added 12 new undrafted free agent pitchers, traded Seabold, lost Grullon to waivers, watched Howard, Moniak, Medina, Romero, Marchan, Brogdon perform at the major league level, and watched Alec Bohm graduate to the majors and win the ROY vote I held in my living room.

Our poll before the 2020 season was as follows

  1. Alec Bohm graduated to Phillies, exceeded rookie limits
  2. Spencer Howard – rookie status still intact
  3. Bryson Stott
  4. Erik Miller
  5. Mickey Moniak – rookie status still intact
  6. Francisco Morales
  7. Connor Seabold throw-in to Boston for two dead arms
  8. Ethan Lindow
  9. Adonis Medina – rookie status still intact
  10. Luis Garcia
  11. JoJo Romero – rookie status still intact
  12. Simon Muzziotti
  13. Rafael Marchan – rookie status still intact
  14. Damon Jones
  15. Johan Rojas
  16. Logan O’Hoppe
  17. Enyel De Los Santos
  18. Nick Maton
  19. Kevin Gowdy
  20. Kendall Simmons
  21. Matt Vierling
  22. Luke Leftwich
  23. Deivy Grullon claimed off waivers by Boston
  24. Mauricio Llovera
  25. Kyle Young
  26. Starlyn Castillo
  27. Connor Brogdon – rookie status still intact
  28. Jhailyn Ortiz
  29. Christopher Sanchez
  30. Cole Irvin
  31. Jamari Baylor
  32. Josh Stephen
  33. Andrew Schultz
  34. David Parkinson
  35. Addison Russ traded to Yankees (Hale)
  36. Colton Eastman
  37. Dominic Pipkin
  38. Austin Listi
  39. Zach Warren
  40. Darick Hall

Hinkie et al, let me know when it would be appropriate to start a separate amateur discussion for the draft.  Rocco, et is Latin for “and”, al is short for Albert, Allen, Alvin …

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

Key Dates:

  • September 30, 2020 – Expiration of the Professional Baseball Agreement between MLB and MiLB
  • October 15, 2020, 5:00 PM EDT – Close of the 2019 international signing period
  • October 28, 2020 – Trading resumes, day after the World Series ends
  • November 1, 2020 – Deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to their eligible former players who became free agents
  • November 11, 2020 – Deadline for free agents to accept qualifying offers
  • November TBA – GM Meetings (Nov. 11-14, Scottsdale, AZ in 2019)
  • November TBA – Owners meetings (Nov. 19-21, Arlington, TX in 2019)
  • November 20, 2020 – Deadline to submit 40-man rosters before Rule 5 Draft
  • November TBA – MLBPA executive board meeting (Nov. 26-29 in Irving, TX in 2018)
  • December 2, 2020 – Non-tender Deadline – Last day for teams to offer 2021 contracts to unsigned players (pre-arb and arb eligible) on their 40-man rosters
  • December 6-10, 2020 – Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas, at the Omni Dallas Hotel and Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, held in conjunction with the Baseball Trade Show and PBEO Job Fair.
  • December 10, 2020 – Rule 5 Draft
  • January TBA – Rookie Career Development Program
  • January 15, 2021 – Deadline for teams and arb eligible players to submit salary figures to arbiter
  • January 15, 2021, 9:00 AM EST – Start of the 2021 international signing period
  • February 17, 2021 – Voluntary spring training reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and players recovering from injuries
  • February 22, 2021 – Voluntary spring training reporting date for position players
  • February 24, 2021 – Mandatory spring training reporting date
  • February 27, 2021 – First spring training game
  • April 1, 2021 – Opening Day for ALL 30 teams
  • June 25, 2021 – Close of the 2021 international signing period
  • July 11-13, 2021 – 2021 Amateur Draft

The rosters and lists are up to date as of November 15th … 322 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)

11/11/2020 – JT Realmuto declined Qualifying Offer
11/11/2020 – Reading released RHP Gilmael Troya
11/09/2020 – Rodolfo Sanchez assigned to Lehigh Valley from Williamsport
11/05/2020 – Tampa Bay traded RHP Rodolfo Sanchez to Phillies
11/05/2020 – RHP Rodolfo Sanchez assigned to Williamsport
11/02/2020 – Phillies activated RHP Seranthony Dominguez from the 60-day IL
11/02/2020 – CF Mikie Mahtook elected free agency
11/02/2020 – C Jonathan Lucroy elected free agency
11/02/2020 – LF Nick Martini elected free agency
11/02/2020 – C Christian Bethancourt elected free agency
11/02/2020 – OF Grenny Cumana elected free agency
11/02/2020 – 3B Jose Gomez elected free agency
11/02/2020 – 3B Jose Antequera elected free agency
11/02/2020 – RHP Gustavo Armas elected free agency
11/02/2020 – RHP Alejandro Requena elected free agency
11/01/2020 – Phillies extend Qualifying Offer to JT Realmuto

217 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of November 16th

  1. Great posting, Jim!!!! I don’t doubt the “facts”, but it is a bit bewildering to see Boston with a Market Score rank of 12th, and for example Oakland with 10th. I’d have guessed Boston to be in at least the top 4!

    1. Boston also fleeced the Phillies of 2 top 30 prospects – Seabold for the 2 dead arms, and Grullon for absolutely nothing in an extremely bewildering move by Phillies when there were others that could have been placed on waivers before he was.

      1. Seabold who was an overpay even if the two dead arms had pitched well. I believe somebody meddled in that transaction and that MK didn’t want to include Seabold.

    2. Oakland has actually finally fulfilled its moved up to its current position and was granted a gradual withdrawal from sharing revenue. From 2017 thru 2020 they received 25% less each season. They are officially off the MLB teat going into the 2021 season.

  2. Good information on the Comp Balance arena.

    Also, the lower revenue/’cheap owners’ group ……. incorporating approx. 15 teams… get additional international monies allocation.

    I originally, many years ago, saw the rationale for this….small market teams could not afford the superstar free agents when they hit the open market like the larger market teams. But over the years, a few of the smaller market teams were able to snag free agents with good money, plus able to re-sign their own stars for high AAVs.

    Somewhere in all these perks that the lower market teams generously obtain to enhance the talent level of their team on the field, lie a balancing act that provides a tangible benefit to the larger market team.

    I have yet to see anything…maybe someone else can.

    1. I think the tangible benefit to the large market owners is the valuation of their franchises goes up when talent is more evenly dispersed.

      Having a stable league or more specific having talent on every team is important. the MLB is a fandom business not necessarily a winning games business. If only half the rose bush is producing flowers the bush looks like crap.

      I’m sure the owners realize the value of their teams would plummet if more than half the leagues teams ceased to be interesting in anyway.

      Not to mention these star players will often price themselves out of small markets and make their way via trades or FA to large market clubs.

      1. DMAR…very well put.
        I like the ‘rose bush’ analogy.
        That probably is what it boils down to…the large market teams need the small market teams to be viable competitors to strengthen and keep the financial base well fortified and image of the league to remain great.

      2. Maybe it’s time to let the weaker franchises fail and put franchises into more viable cities. Going by population density from the 2020 census, you could replace #70 St. Louis, #68 Pittsburgh, #65 Cincinnati, #54 Cleveland, #47/#77 Tampa/St.Pete, #39 Miami with more viable locations. if they can’t survive on their own.

        St. Louis seems to be doing well, but they just had an 7.99% drop in population. Pittsburgh isn’t doing well and it’s population dropped by 3.45%. Cincinnati has struggled for years to be relevant but saw an increase in population of 3.25%. Cleveland had a drop in population of 4.21%. Even with population increases of 22.74% and 10.85% Tampa/St. Pete hasn’t been able to support a team. And, neither has Miami with its 21.34% population increase.

        Maybe, MLB should put teams in areas with substantial populations no matter how close to existing team’s areas.

        For instance, San Antonio has the 7th largest population, Austin has the 11th. Put a team in one of those locations. Jacksonville is 13th, put one there. Columbus is 14th, Charlotte is 15th, Indianapolis is 17th. El Paso, Nashville, Portland, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Memphis, and Louisville are all in the top 30 with over 600K population.

        So, let the cheap owners move or sell and put teams in cities that want a nd can support them. I know it’s not as easy as that. But, I see no reason to subsidize teams that aren’t trying to maximize (Pittsburgh comes to mind, and Miami).

        1. Jim, Are you looking at the populations of incorporated cities or at metro areas? Austin, for example, is the 29th largest metro, ranking behind Pittsburgh, though the 11th largest city. .

          Metro areas is better than looking at cities.

          The best way to look at markets is Area of Dominant Influence. This is used by advertisers. For example, Allentown is considered by the US Census Bureau as part of the New York City metro, even though it is closer to Philadelphia and has a Philadelphia orientation both geographic and political. I suspect the number of Phillies caps in Allentown outnumbers the number of Mets an Yankee caps combined. But, the Census Bureau is a government agency that depends on funding from from politicians, and New York has more political influence than Philadelphia.

          But the Almighty Dollar cares less about politics than about return on investment, so it knows the Philadelphia ADI extends into the Lehigh Valley.

          Having said all of that, I do think there are clubs in very small markets like Cinncy and Milwaukee that would performa better financially in larger metros.

          1. cincinnati metro population is over 2 million. comparable with Cleveland and much more than Milwaukee. mighten cincy’s population be enough?r

      1. Authority to spend it….a credit line I suppose you can call it.

        And when teams trade a player to get additional money….I thought I read a few years ago on Fangraphs…there were no actual ‘cash’ transaction transfer…..just one team got deducted their allotment amount and the other team gained the losing teams allotment amount.

  3. It’s been three weeks since the Dodgers won the WS, one month since Bryan Price unexpectedly retired, and more than a month and a half since Matt Klentak was forced to step down. Aside from declining options and non-tendering players, Middleton and company have done nothing. On top of that, (as you mentioned above), instructs have been cloaked in secrecy. So … yeah, I’d be excited for a draft/amateur talent thread, Jim. I can share some video of players I like, and who could be available for the Phillies at 1-13 and beyond.

  4. I have been hoping John Middleton was going to make a serious run/throw lots of money at Erik Neander to run the Phillies Baseball Ops Department even though it’s been reported he probably won’t leave Tampa. I’d be good with Michael Hill if Neander is untouchable.

    However, to me, it appears Middleton is either waiting to hire Theo Epstein when his deal with the Cubs ends after the 2021 season (or sooner if Chicago releases him this winter) or the Phillies owner is ready to put the finishing touches on an all former NYY management team. The imminent Caleb Cotham hire (as PC) would be the third former Yankee hire by Middleton in the past year and a half (Girardi and Brian Barber). If Middleton’s plan is to go Evil Empire South, I just hope he hires Tim Naehring (NYY VP Baseball Operations) and not Jim Hendry (Advisor to Brian Cashman). Hendry is another Andy MacPhail crony (no more of that, please). If either one gets the President of Baseball Ops title, they might hire Damon Oppenheimer as GM.

    1. Hinkie – you said exactly what I have been thinking for awhile. I think Cubs mgmt is ready to not only trade any/all of their veterans (see mlb trade rumors yesterday) but to completely retool. This includes getting rid of Theo and his cadre. After 10 years Cubbies are ready to move on and I – as you – believe Middleton is waiting to offer Theo, yet another chance to get a trophy for a beleaguered franchise – the Phillies. He has the cache and is eminently qualified. It is, I believe, just a matter of waiting to see the chips fall. Meanwhile – is Rome burning ???? while Cohen and the big boy pants wearing hard chargers scoop up low cost free agents and other talented players for nothing ??

      1. RU … Middleton is a slave to public opinion and fan perception so I kind of expect Todd Zolecki and/or Jim Salisbury to report they’ve heard from anonymous sources (Middleton) the Phillies are waiting for Epstein in an effort to stave off the backlash he’ll get for going with Andy MacPhail and Ned Rice for a year.

  5. Fantasy trading….
    Seven Lindor options for trade..

    “….Phillies get: SS Francisco Lindor and C Roberto Pérez……..Indians get: C Rafael Marchan (Phillies’ No. 7 prospect), RHP Francisco Morales (Phillies’ No. 4 prospect), OF Jhailyn Ortiz (Phillies’ No. 19 prospect), SS Bryson Stott (MLB’s No. 82 prospect)”

    1. Shoot me in the head if Andy MacPhail agrees to that.
      Can’t give up that many potential cost effective contributors for one year of Lindor. He’s not going to win the Phillies the WS in 2021.

      1. Agree with you Hinkie except for the shooting in the head but I let Romus give me some spanking.

        If Middleton decide to give the JTR money to Lindor by signing him upon trade, I’ll take out Marchan (and O’Hoppe is untouchable) and replace him with Muzziotti or Maton.

    2. Romus, it further said that the Indians would say no, as there will be better offers, but this is the best package the Phils could put together. After the Realmuto fiasco, please don’t let them make another stupid trade, where they do not secure a LTC from the arriving player, whether that be Lindor, or anyone else. I still blame Middleton for not signing Realmuto. It was his job to do so, not Klentak’s. And, don’t let them do a thing until the new FO is in place. I am already resigned to a failed 2021, and don’t want MacPhail and Rice to make it worse.

      1. matt13…agree.
        Though heard on MLB Network that the Philies should look into both Liam Hendriks and also Brad Hand….righty /lefty duo….for Girardi to work with in 2021.

        Surely it cannot happen four years in a row that the key BP arms cannot go down for the count…Neshek, Hunter, Robertson….

        1. Romus when you get a chance call me, i am trying to figure out the ie and other short cuts Jim mention in his article

          1. rocco…no problem bud,
            just let me know what time they give you telephone privileges off the block.

    3. The only teams who would offer anything substantial to Cleveland are the very few which are one star away from WS contention…and in need of an upgrade at SS. His trade market will be very narrow.

  6. jim, please correct me if I am wrong, as I don’t want to bash Middleton more than necessary, but I thought Seabold was included so that some money came back to us, to offset the contracts of Hembree and Workman, so we could stay under the all important Luxury tax/ salary cap? I believe that Middleton mismanaged the team from the beginning by allowing the narrative to be the LT rather than making the Playoffs. That started before the pandemic, and resulted in the worst BP in history, and another failed season. We can blame Klentak for a lot, but I think this came from Middleton.

  7. Hello Jim,

    I was wondering can you let me know if these Phillies minor leaguers are still in the Phillies organization. Thanks.

    Keudy Bocio- Last Transaction posted was 6/21/19
    Will Hibbs- Last Transaction posted was 3/30/19
    Kevin Markham- Last Transaction posted was 7/10/18
    Brian Mims- Last Transaction posted was 8/25/18
    Gregori Rivero- Last Transaction posted was 11/27/18

    1. Bocio – Released 6/24/2019
      Hibbs – Retired (from his twitter profile – Former professional baseball player in the Philadelphia Phillies organization…)
      Markham – Retired (from his twitter profile – Retired Professional baseball player with the Philadelphia Phillies…)
      Mims – Still listed as active
      Rivero – Released 4/22/2019

  8. The Braves just signed Drew Smyly to a whopping 1 year, $11M. His contract last season was 1 year, $4M. I can’t believe he got this much money now. How come nobody wanted to pay Brad Hand $10M?

    1. Braves seem to run smoothly…this may have only been a $3/4M overpayment.

      Brad Hand…starter vs reliever have to assume was the component in the salary disparity.

      1. Smyly’s K/9 was 14+ last season. The Phillies could have had him when he was here on probably a 3/$36 or maybe a 2/$24

    2. That’s another smart sign by Alex Anthopolous. He kills it with those one year deals. He can outbid other teams for those one year pacts because he’s got the Braves payroll in check. I felt like Smyly was as good as any LHSP available as a FA this winter, and was hoping the Phillies would bring him back. I’d now like to see Middleton/MacPhail/Rice bring in James Paxton (although I think Toronto will be hot for him) or Jose Quintana.

  9. Liam Hendriks was tabbed by MLBTR in their predictions to be signed by the Phillies. But the vibes they’re putting out indicate they’re waiting for bargains later in the winter or early spring. Good luck with that, Keystone Cops.

    1. Please don’t give them that much credit. At least the Keystone Cops were actually chasing something!

      1. I definitely don’t want the Phillies to become NYY South because in reality, we would more accurately become their dump sight, both on the field and in the executive suites. Sanchez’ career has jumped the shark. I’d rather go with a young catching platoon if we can’t re-sign Realmuto.

        1. We don’t have pieces to get Hader. They want offense, which we don’t have to spare. I think it would be a huge mistake to trade prospects when we have so few of them. As I’ve said before, our only way to improve is to spend plus get lucky on a few signings.

  10. Is there any one of you who doesn’t believe that Smyly will pitch well against us, and helps the Braves win? I continue to be torn. I also wanted to claim Brad Hand, I don’t believe there are bad 1 year deals. And, I wanted a new POBO in here already. But, we have these guys. And, I don’t want them to screw it up further. Do nothing stupid, and let Theo come in next year. And back to jim’s point on Seabold. There are only 2 people who could have overruled Klentak, MacPhail or Middleton. Both have claimed to not be involved in personnel decisions except for signing Harper. One, or both, of them has been less than truthful.

    1. I don’t think he’s worth $11M so I’m fine with the Braves overpaying for him. They could afford to do that with all their young cheap pitchers.

    2. Wasn’t Cole Hamels the smart Braves signing last year that was going to pitch well against the Phillies and help the Braves win? He’s an overpay at $11 million and there are certainly bad, 1-year deals. Don’t know if Smyly will pitch well or not but Hamels was a bad, 1-year deal.

      Brave are in a good place right now due to a good mix of young, cheap players but don’t pretend they don’t make mistakes.

      1. How was it bad, 3up? It stopped the Braves from doing nothing else, cost no prospects, and was a gamble that didn’t pay off. Nothing bad there. That is how teams are supposed to do it. Take a calculated risk, and they don’t always work, but cost nothing except money. I wouldn’t think that is bad at all. And, if Hamels wasn’t hurt, he would have helped them on the field. Smyly is going to help them, and he is going to beat us. Mark my words.

        1. matt13… one GM said, only two types of currency in baseball, players and money.
          Seems the good teams like to keep their player currency…… the yuong ones and prospects.
          Smyly like yuo say cost only money…not player currency….and just for one year.
          And Smyly does provide the Braves with that added veteran experienced presence in their rotation. Whether he lives up to his potential is another thing.

          Waiting for the Phillies to bring in a southpaw for the rotation…Paxton would seem to be a good chance to take ..not many ‘move the needle’ ones out there.
          Robbie Erlin …..Gio Gonzalez………….J.A. Happ ………Rich Hill …….Wade LeBlanc ……Jon Lester………Mike Minor……Matt Moore…….Martin Perez …………….Jose Quintana..

      2. I thought the consensus of the baseball world was that Braves’ smart signings were 3 relief pitchers in mid-November, all within a week – signing Wil Smith to a 3/$40M, and resigning Chris Martin to a 2/$14M and Darren O’Day to a 1/$2.25M; and that Hamels, while a nice addition, was an overpay at 1/$18M (twice what he was projected to receive)..

  11. The Brewers are reportedly open to trading Josh Hader who makes under $6M with 2 years of control remaining. Assuming that the resident misfits of the current front office are not making the deal, what would you offer for one of the best closers in MLB?

  12. The Brewers are reportedly open to trading Josh Hader who makes under $6M with 2 years of control remaining. Assuming that the resident misfits of the current front office are not making the deal, what would you offer for one of the best closers in MLB?

    1. I am not a hater on Hader, and things seem to be tilting in another direction as he ages and usage increases…so not sure the 27-year old is still going strong.
      And his change-up went somewhere this year…though he may have been a little wild…nobody really hit him.


      Assume it would be a three- for- one deal.
      I think I would start with Vinny and see where it goes and who else they would want…perhaps a catcher like Marchan would also be included.
      Those two y may be fillers….the third piece have no clue what they are looking for….may have to move the needle for them.

      1. Just four years ago, Brian Cashman got Gleyber Torres (a top 20 prospect) and Billy McKinney (a former first round pick) for three months of Aroldis Chapman. You can imagine what David Stearns is going to want for three years of Josh Hader. Hader would probably cost the Phillies Mick Abel, Adam Haseley, and JoJo Romero.
        The Brewers would probably do better shopping Hader at the trade deadline when clubs are more desperate.

        1. That was because a franchise with a 108 year old World Series drought was a closer away from a title. Perfect timing for Cashman, very similar circumstances when he dealt Miller to Cleveland. He cashed in on two RPs that is the gold standard that other GMs will look to emulate.

          1. I agree the circumstances were extraordinary (that is why I believe Milwaukee would do better to wait until the trade deadline). However, you do have to take into account the difference in team control: Chapman 3 months vs Hader 3 YEARS!

            1. I trade where the Phillies exchange some of their best prospects for Josh Hader would be, philosophically, a disaster. It’s the type of trade that losing organizations do. A sub-.500 team, with iffy playoff hopes and a poor farm system should not be trading some of its best starting pitching and position player prospects for a relief pitcher. We will wake up 2 years from now and wonder what the hell they were thinking. The fact that our best pitching prospect since Cole Hamels is now a cheap top-of-the-rotation option for one of our division rivals is bad enough – please, let’s stop doing these stupid, short-sighted trades.

  13. At the end of the season, I posted the two FA pitchers I’d most like to see the Phillies sign this offseason were Drew Smyly and Trevor May. Smyly got a nice fat one year deal from the Braves today, but Jim Salisbury is reporting May could be a Phillies’ target. The former Phuture Phillie is exactly what this BP needs: a power arm (upper 90’s) with gaudy K totals (14.7/9 IP in 2020).

    I’d also bring in another 2020 Twin. Minnesota passed on Sergio Romo’s option for 2021. He’s not the same guy who used to close in San Fran, but he would give the Philles BP a “different look” guy … and he won’t cost a lot.

    1. I like the concept of a FA May over a package of top prospects for Hader that would thin out even more a Phillies farm system on the low end of top talent…

    2. Would be satisfied with either May or Hendriks….do not see both…..each will be >$10M AAV
      Lefty…wish it could be Hand

  14. Jim Salisbury writes on NBCSP that Michael Hill is indeed a candidate for the President of Baseball Operations. The guy has seen and been through quite a bit of upheaval with the twists and turns of the Marlins over the years. And he’s widely regarded as an excellent baseball man. Sign him up, Johnny!

    1. Hiring the right top baseball executive is the wagon wheel stuck in the ditch that must be pulled out before this organization can move forward with any simulation of success.

      1. Best post of the morning Mark. On the fence with Hill. I still look at the Yelich deal and think wow they really missed on an exceptional player. Someone there clearly over valued Brinson.

        And then of course there was Osuna. They couldn’t get him in line when he was there but he seemed to flourish once he left. I think time will show they did pretty well for Realmuto.

        I guess if you sift through the debris that was the Marlins ownership fiascos maybe there is a great baseball mind in there and he was simply handcuffed to Billy the Marlin.

        1. I brought up David Stearns of the Brewers this time last year. The flip side of that Yelich deal…

          He’s done pretty well in both trades and drafts out in Milwaukee.

  15. All I know is that, finally, there seems to be some movement from Middleton. Maybe the stock market going up has helped him recover from that bad investment in pork bellies. Salisbury is pretty tuned in, as is Jayson Stark, so we may see some light at the end of this very dark tunnel. The most important hire is the POBO. If Middleton finally gets that right, he can go back to talking about how much he wants to win.

  16. If you’re feeling pretty good today, take five minutes to read this from Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark. It’s a totally depressing take on the Phillies chances of landing some of MLB’s top FO candidates.

    I knew this job was not going to be an ideal lading spot to sell to prospective execs because of the situation MacPhail and Klentak have put the franchise in (top heavy roster/no payroll flexibility/poor farm system) … but … I thought Middleton’s stooopid money would attract a FO stud with a proven track record. However, it sounds like a lot of these guys value environment over dollars. Yikes!

    1. I think these guys value autonomy, Hinkie. They don’t want owners breathing over their shoulder.

  17. Has anyone ownership been given a bigger benefit of the doubt in this city(all 4 sports) than John Middleton? A major reason why is because he is 1 of us, if his exact same bio is moved to Boston/NY/Baltimore/DC there is zero chance he gets as much leeway as we give him. He really has no clue how to build a 21st Century professional sports team into a champion. He has a lot of $$$ and gets a free pass because he loves his Philly sports teams as much as we do. He probably cares more as an owner than every owner in this city since Ed Snyder, but he doesnt know what to do. Exhibit A: Andy MacPhail.

    1. First, I think Jeffrey Lurie cares a LOT about his team and is seriously invested in their success. But he doesn’t try to make day-to-day decisions the way Middleton apparently sometimes does, and that is to Lurie’s credit.

      One of Middleton’s biggest problems is that he he relies on advice from his pals in the business to determine who he should pursue. There are a number of problems with this. To begin, who says his pals really want him to succeed all that much? Second, his pals are probably older folks who refer him to old school management, which is why we have MacPhail (has a team leader ever been more appropriately named?). Middleton needs to choose the best person to lead this franchise going forward. This will be, BY FAR, the most important decision he makes in the next 5-7 years for the franchise and, so far, his track record is not good. But once he chooses that person, he needs to stay in his own lane if he wants this thing to work.

        1. I think Mac N Cheese is pretty good…..add some lobster or crab maybe a pinch of cayenne and it’s a home run!🤓

  18. Meghan Montemurro believes the Phillies should protect Damon Jones, Francisco, Morales, and Simon Muzziotti. She feels the decisions on Kyle Dohy, Zach Warren, Nick Maton, and David Parkinson are toss-ups.
    I agree on Jones, Morales, and Muzziotti. I would definitely protect Dohy and Maton. Warren is a homeboy (Vineland), but I think he probably goes undrafted. Parkinson is a “no” for me.

    1. I think I would sub Warren for Maton….every club has a Maton …middle infielder …in their system
      Most years of the 13-17 drafted guys ..the bulk are pitchers….and lefties seem to be a most desirable commodity these recent days.

    2. The Phillie currently have 31 guys on their 40-man roster. Included, is David Hale (should be on the endangered species list), Johan Quezada (have no idea if he’s here for the long term), Vince Velasquez (chance for him to be non-tendered), and Ser Ant’ny (will be moved to 60 day IL once the season starts).

  19. We all, or most of us, bought into Middleton’s seeming passion for the team, and the way he came off as one of us, just richer, and with the ability to make us a great franchise again. That came crashing down, for me, before this past season even started. Stark and Rosenthal painted a bleak picture, one that it is hard to argue with. We spent a lot of money, drafted in the top 10 for years, signed FAs and made trades, and are not much better than when the rebuild started. Maybe, just maybe, our prospects are underrated, and Abel and Stott and a few others are better than the National analysts believe they are. But, we are still far short as a farm system, even with the benefit of many doubts, and are about to lose 2 of the best players, offensively and defensively, that we have. And, if prospective POBO candidates that really are top notch believe that Middleton is stuck on a salary cap, the attractiveness of the team is further diminished. What a shame! You are correct, Hinkie, totally depressing.

    1. My guess is that either the Phillies or Mets will hire Epstein – if they hire him all will be forgiven.

  20. Timing is suspicious considering we just started doing something. I agree with catch. All is forgiven if we sign Theo. That puts the Phils ahead of the Sixers hiring of Daryl Morey.

    1. According to that Athletic article this morning, Theo may more interested in owning a team (with a group of investors) than running a team. Nonetheless, his resignation does make the whole Middleton search more interesting.

  21. Hope quashed as quickly as I had some. I should have known that Rosenthal and Stark know what they are talking about.

    1. Epstein wants the same type of status that Billy Beane has – I get that and that’s the next step for him. If I were the Phillies, I’d find a way to give him 2-4% percent of the team if he agrees to a long-term commitment, but I doubt that would happen.

  22. I just read Theo’s letter that was in the Athletic. He did not shut the door on a team next year, although he doesn’t envision the right opportunity presenting itself right away. He expressly states that he plans on a 3rd stint as part of a team. And, he states that he would, someday, like to be part of an Ownership group. He is clearly really smart, he is has been very successful, and is about as classy of a guy that there is. Middleton could not do better, but I don’t know if he has the charm, commitment and plan to get Theo here.

    1. matt13….as mark8:29 says above…..$$$$$$ does shout out.
      The one advantage the Phillies org has… is not a sole entity/family ownership ,,,like the Werners/Angelos/Sternberg and a few others.
      Maybe Middleton or the Bucks will cut a piece of the pie out for him

    2. Theo mentioning his desire to someday be involved in owning an MLB club was brilliant posturing on his part, letting suitors know that that negotiating point should be on the table. I like him already. That’s wisdom. One way or another, he’ll get paid…but it’s the team with the front office structure to make room for him which will hire him. The Mets are reportedly asking Cleveland permission to speak to Chernow since Alderson was rehired as president. They want Lindor. Middleton had better become suddenly decisive if he wants to land the best available difference maker on the market.

  23. Sounds like Theo, at his exit news conference, does not really want to come back next year.
    So it will have to be a very hard sell for Middleton …or Cohen,
    These are the two teams all the talk is centering around if Theo decides on coming back.

  24. Please keep in mind that Epstein has made some really long lasting bad deals as he has good ones in his career with the Red Sox and the Cubs. I understand that World Series victories for both those teams are of the essence but before win coronate him as the next Phillies king, remember his blunders.

    1. Yes he did… Cubs are on the cusp of collapsing….Rizzo, Baez, Bryant and Schwarber …all could be going…Lester is gone…Darvish did well this season but is aging.
      Jed Hoyer has his worked cut out for himself.

    2. Okay…I’ll remember his blunders….and the last 9 seasons without playoff baseball in Philadelphia under two incompetent front offices.

  25. He got Jake Arrieta and Anthony Rizzo for nothing and next to nothing, signed Jon Lester and drafted Schwarber and Kris Bryant. And, got a fellow named Joe Madden to Manage the team. We already have Joe G. And, he broke the Cubs curse, after being majorly responsible for breaking one in Boston. So, I will take winning the WS, thank you very much. We won a WS in 2008, and had really good teams until 2011 ended. We are now going on season 10 of failure, and I want back to the good times. Every one makes mistakes. Pat Gillick traded Gio Gonzalez for an already injured Freddy Garcia. Winning is all that counts.

    1. matt13……so in some respects…..he could be a younger and the latest analytical version of Trader Dave Dombrowski…who got virtually all his teams to the WS, then the decline.
      In all fairness….long term sustainment can be difficult and a rarity.

      And how is success measured? ….everyone has a different view of that…by successive play-off appearances and never winning a ring….or winning two rings , like the Sox, but with terrible years surrounding the ring years!

  26. Excellent points Romus. As Theo said about himself, “I think I am great at building up a team, but not so good at maintaining it.” I think the way the Red Sox won 2, then floundered, then came back and won again, and is now back to rebuilding is a pretty good standard. I wager that it doesn’t take them 10 years. I also think the Dodgers, despite being frustrated until this year, have done a great job. We, OTOH, have failed to sustain or rebuild. When we were good, 2007 to 2011, we should have won more than once. There was a failure of the FO to use all of its ability to add young talent, and instead went cheap in the International market, and failed to add through the draft where there were opportunities, but adhered to a slot system before one was put into place. A big mistake. A Dave Dombrowski would have acquired both Lee and Doc in 2009, instead of waiting to get Doc later and trading Lee. Another stupid mistake. The same deal that got us Doc was available in ’09 at the deadline, that we made in the off season. Now, we are just the opposite. We have failed to rebuild in this 10 year stretch due to FO mistakes, waiting too long to start, poor talent evaluations in trades and drafting, and this year’s salary cap. So, whatever the right way may be, I want another run of playoff teams and another WS. It should not have taken 10 years. I think Theo would be great, but I don’t think Middleton is spending this off season, so I don’t think Theo is coming here. And, I use that 10 years as a badge of dishonor for the team, but I have no strong belief that year 11 will be any better.

  27. The Athletic did a dissection of the Mets and Phillies appeal for top front office prospects and it wasn’t even close on who they thought which organization was the better job. They listed ownership and the farm system for the Mets as advantages. The Phillies five years of rebuilding with the club still not much further than where they were in 2015 was the hard truth but one we’ve all spoken of here on this site…

  28. What this free agent market may come down to:

    “Kolten Wong is drawing interest from the Blue Jays after turning down a multi-year contract offer from the Cardinals…..the free-agent second baseman has won two straight Gold Gloves. He hit the open market when the Cardinals declined his $12.5-million option for 2021.
    Wong, 30, accrued a 15.3 fWAR over eight seasons with St. Louis”

    …when a stalwart player for the Cardinals gets declined his option, then the Cards low-ball a multi-year offering, tells me that the clubs will be going very frugal this off-season on free agents. And then someone like Brad Hand @ $10M cannot get an offering…..makes me think JTR will have to settle for less than what he expected.

  29. Jon Morosi says that Pirate lefty Steven Brault is drawing trade interest. He’s 28 with 3 years of control remaining and coming off his best ERA in 2020, albeit a shortened season. Might we have interest?

    1. Haha Ben Cherington looking for a sucker on a great sell high candidate. Let it not be the Phillies.

      I mean sure I’d take a flyer on a guy like him but I wouldn’t give up much if anything for him. In 5 MLB seasons his WHIP is lofty 1.51 with a really low K/9 of 7.8.

    2. Check out his pitcher’s card…lowish velo…25% usage as a change-up pitcher for the most part…high BB/9…..but batters miss the barrel..induces plenty of GBs….would rank in top 15 of all starters @49%….for the right price he could be a good gamble…would they take Vinny and maybe a low A guy?

  30. Hinkie, or anyone, are there any Rule V guys you are interested in? We are going to have 40 Man spots, and we have been lucky in the Rule V before.

    1. matt13…will not know all the available candidates until Saturday or after…..Friday is the date to finalize the 40 for the Rule 5.

      1. I’d be surprised if there is much Rule 5 activity. No MiLB games played and very little scouting allowed is likely to put a damper on that market.

      2. Here’s a “come full circle” idea: How about we drop David Hale from the 40-man, and we draft Addison Russ from the NYY’s (if they don’t protect him). The truth of the matter is … it doesn’t even have to be Russ (just found that idea to be amusing). I’d just rather see Hale replaced with a lottery ticket.

        BTW … I do believe this could be a year where you see a higher volume of rule 5 picks than normal. Looks like most teams are cutting payroll, and the FA market will be moving like a sloth. I can see lots of clubs seeking a/couple/few rule 5 steal(s)/bargain(s).

        1. LOL !!! Just read DMAR’s post above (where he predicts the exact opposite of what I suggested). We’ll see what happens.

          1. Most teams seem to have more 40 spots open because declining options and non-tendering is en vogue this winter.

          2. 🙂 I’ve been plenty wrong before Hinkie

            I guess we have to look up how many rule 5 transactions occurred 2018-2019 and find that median to compare this season to.

  31. Maybe a good opportunity to pick up someone off of good 2019 numbers? A very low risk way to try to add. No 2020 injury, so 2019 reports will still have some merit. Just looking for something, guys. If we are really waiting until late in the off season for bargain bin shopping, then the Hendriks, Trevor May, etc. talk won’t mean anything.

  32. I know the Theo Epstein hype train is churning down the tracks right now, but I don’t see the Phillies as his slam dunk destination. He could pick the Mets if he signs with someone sooner rather than later (despite what he said yesterday). If he waits until next year, a job could open in Detroit. The Tigers would offer him a blank slate (little payroll and top 10 farm system) to place his own signature on their club.
    I think John Middleton should get a deal done with Michael Hill (if Erik Neander is not in play) right now. Hill has an excellent track record of finding and drafting high end HS and JUCO players (Giancarlo Stanton, Steve Cishek, Brad Hand, Christian Yelich, JT Realmuto, Jose Fernandez, Josh Naylor, Chris Paddack). Hill has also worked with Joe Girardi in Miami, and that seems to be a recurring theme with the Phillies anymore.
    I don’t want to waste another year (with MacPhail and Ned Rice) hoping that Theo might come here in 12 months. And … who knows what Michael Hill (who has always worked for owners who spend no money) might do with the budgets Theo Epstein has always had to work with.

    1. I’m not on the Epstein train, but I’ll buy what you are selling Hinkie. I especially like the names on Hill’s resume.

  33. Theo Epstein has given up $10Million to walk away now, when he could have easily lasted the year and earned a big paycheck. So, he is financially in a position to do so, and wait for his “3rd Chapter” in his Baseball career. I don’t think that means he is looking to become the next Commissioner. Why come here? John Middleton makes him an offer that, not only pays him a lot of money, but gives him an Ownership stake in the club. Not outlandish, I think Pat Gillick has a % or 2. He, naturally gets full control over everything Baseball related, and needs to be sold on Ownership’s commitment going forward. All things we have discussed. But, I don’t see that Middleton has any intention of spending this year. I think he will “reach out’ to Theo to show he tried, but I see no indication that he will pony up for Theo, or that he is in a position to sell him on his vision. I don’t think Theo is committing to come here and waiting to see how many fans are allowed in CBP.

  34. Phillies Top Ten……BA…. surprises for me Yhoswar and Rojas:
    1.Spencer Howard
    2.Mick Abel
    3.Bryson Stott
    4.Francisco Morales
    5.Rafael Marchan
    6.Luis Garcia
    7.Yhoswar Garcia
    8.Simon Muzziotti
    9.Johan Rojas
    10.Nick Maton

    1. THE BA Top 10 was kind of a joke.. #6 Garcia (BA’s words) “struggled at Low-A Lakewood in 2019 with a batting average under .200.” Which means to me in 2020 he was probably going back to Williamsport but he’s our #6 best prospect? #7 also named Garcia never made it to the minors in 2019 because he lied about his age and there was a passport discrepancy getting out of Venezuela. In 2020 COVID kept him home working out… So how is this guy the Phillies #7 best prospect? Based on what? He worked on his conditioning? MLB Pipeline is more realistic. I still think BA over rates high school kids. They need to prove themselves in games and not just practices or showcases…

      1. Yeah….all valid points that thru the years people have brought up…ie “BA over rates high school kids. They need to prove themselves in games and not just practices or showcases…”.
        And then there are those people who rank proximity to the majors higher than potentially loud tools at the lower level of the minors that a prospect may possess. ..

        Probably why a good idea to get the 4/5 main publication outlets and compare their each top10/20/30 prospect listings and read their summary of each prospect.

        We are fortunate in that Jim can eye- scout hands-on every GCL and CLW prospect…..when there were games.

        1. I wrote the comment off as not valid when I read, “Which means to me in 2020 he was probably going back to Williamsport…”. That’s like saying “Joey failed 4th grade, so we’ll send him back to repeat 3rd grade”. Eighteen-year-old Luis Garcia was challenged at full season A-ball with the intention of repeating if he struggled. If he thrived, he would have been promoted further ahead of schedule. He got valuable experience playing against better players in April, May, and June instead of attending Extended Spring Training. If there was even a remote chance that the Phillies considered reassigning him to Williamsport (which would not have been a “return” since he skipped that level), it would have happened during the 2019 season, not at the start of the 2020 season.

      2. Hawkeye … I get your disappointment, but you can’t just look at the stats without considering the circumstances. Luis Garcia faced 0 pitchers younger than him at Lakewood in 2019. Many of the guys he batted against were three years older and physically more dominant than him. He’s a former top international prospect (who plays a premium position) and led the GCL in hitting in 2018.

        1. It just felt like BA phoned it in… The list doesn’t make sense…I think Jim has mentioned the GCL for the most part is a very competitive high school league..If a player is going to be placed on a Top 10 list he needs to bat north of .200 in A ball or above.. Otherwise he’s just a guy…

          1. Whatever BA sees in these younger players, we need higher ceilings on the farm. Garcia and Rojas are two who need strong coaching and development, which hasn’t been a proven commodity in the Phillies organization.

          2. @hawkeye – prospect rankings can be really subjective and individual rankings will depend on what tools/skills/attributes/risk profile values the most. Some rankings tend to value proximity, some value the current performance and so on. At one point, a lot of PP fans ranked Jhailyn Top 10 automatically just because of the signing bonus even though Ortiz hasn’t played a single pro game.

            For BA, they value future physical projections and ceiling very high so they tend to rank the younger prospects with very good ceiling highly. If Erik Miller is 2 years younger, he will be BA’s Top 5 at the least.

            Most rankings will probably agree with +2/-2 difference in most of the Top 3-5 and the rest will be pretty much anybody’s game. And MLB rankings also has some holes that anybody can poke and they are only reevaluated twice a year.

            Amongst all the prospect rankings, my personal rankings is closer to BA and MattWinks rankings since I value the same key attributes they consider.

    2. Among BAs top 10, my top 5 ceilings are:
      1 Mick Abel
      2 Bryson Stott
      3 Spencer Howard
      4 Luis Garcia
      5 Francisco Morales

      1. Would it be too much to ask that Howard, Morales and Abel are all healthy and studs in the rotation by 2023.
        I do think it is karma time for the Phillies to get their lucky charm break.

  35. There was a question the other day, I think in Meghan Montemurro’s column, about protecting Nick Maton. Can we not protect our #10 prospect?

    1. There are only 4 infielders presently protected….Rhys/Segura/Kingery and Bohm….Maton needs to be on that list…my goodness, they protected A. Gamboa two years ago and that was one big head scratcher iMO.

      1. Not only should Maton be protected, but if Didi doesn’t come back, Maton is probably the Phillies reserve infielder. Segura at SS, Kingery at 2B, Bohm at 3B, and Maton back up MIF.

        1. Good point Hinkie…Maton may play a larger role in 2021, than what was expected of him earlier this year. And he is not getting any younger …will be 24-years old this season.

          Now give your buddy Darryl Morey a call and see what will give in 2/3 hours at the draft table.

          1. LOL! Nice to know the Sixers have a stud GM. I have complete trust in whatever he does. Let’s hope Middleton finds his Daryl Morey soon.

          2. rocco…..exactly…. why couldn’t Elton have been this creative!
            Morey has been on the job ’10 minutes’ it seems, and he gets things done in another direction…hopefully it is the right direction.

            This is why GMs that were former players in their respective sport…overall, seem to struggle in making sound decisions….and also seem to slightly over pay on contracts….loyalty can have its drawbacks.

            1. Morey is undoing the damage that Elton Brand inflicted over the last few years.

              Can you imagine how much Morey might have been able to do if he had been able to take over the team before Brand pissed away draft picks and burdened the team with ill-conceived mega deals? It strains the imagination.

            2. Romus how did brand get a extension? He back them in a corner with those deals, lost them draft picks, and he gets a new contract

            3. There’s a reason why Brand is still with the organization and it unfortunately has nothing to do with merit or performance. Morey was brought in to mask Brand’s incompetence. Titles in this case are irrelevant.

            4. Lets also remember Bryan Cola. and that Faultz trade involving the Celtics to start things off!
              Both Cola. and Brand were a tandem disaster.
              They undid the ‘process’

            5. The older Colangelo saw good things heading to the Sixers way so he took his son to share with the glory!!! This nepotism burned the Sixers in the big way since Collars Colangelo derailed what Sam Hinkie started and the Sixers never really recovered from that blunder!!

  36. In the category of when it rains, it pours….Cano of Mets suspended for 162 games and Mets get to save his 24 mill salary in 2021. That is money on top of money Cohen was already willing to put into the team. New alignment means their best hitter Jeff McNeil moves to 2B from “no position” and the outfield is set with Dom Smith, Nimmo, and Conforto. They lose a player who played way over his head in 2020 and is fading fast to create more cash to get JT….Oh boy….

    1. I’d like to see them add to the penalty. If you get popped a second time the team can cut you and your salary if any remains after a second suspension.

      Cano still has $48 million (2022 and 2023) coming to him after he serves his 162. Which is absurd.

  37. A lot of fans doomed the Phillies since they want to see an “All-Star” roster type to believe that the Phillies can contend. Here are some quotes from Daryl Morey (you will see this if you have a subscription to The Athletic).

    “One thing I think organizations make mistakes is they try to make sure the roster is perfect on Game 1”

    “You want to do great moves when they are available. But often the best move is not a move that is done right away.”

    The first quote is what most fans want to see. As I said before, the Phillies has some good “core pieces” that can carry the team if they get hot at the right time. What the Phillies lack is overall depth since there will be situations where the “core pieces” cannot deliver and they need someone to back them up.

    And the root cause of this lack of depth is the poor talent evaluation from the FO — there you go it goes back to McPhail and Klentak. This duo is the root cause of why the Phillies did not succeed. So it is imperative for Middleton to hire the “right” FO is he wants the Phillies to trend to the right direction. Middleton doesn’t need to sign every key FAs – he just needs a FO who has an eye for MLB talent.

  38. MattWinks wrote an article about Rule 5 protections. He noted 4 locks similar to Megan M. as no brainer — Morales, Damon Jones, Muzziotti and Maton! I agreed with this and also think that Dohy should be a lock but I’m 50-50 on Warren.

    Enyel and Hammer will be exposed to Rule 5. They were DFAd but not picked up but I will not be surprised if some team will take a chance and draft them.

  39. I believe this evening is the deadline to add to the 40 Man, and I think that Morales, Jones Muzziotti, Dohy, and Maton are definites. Do you think anyone else gets protected and who do we think gets picked up? I don’t think anyone is carrying Hall or Listi for the season but there is a chance to lose Parkinson and Warren.

    1. Warren is the one that I think a possible casualty.

      Other names will get some attention but with a low probability of getting drafted:

      Tier 1 – Enyel, Hammer, Doobie
      Tier 2 – Singer, Hernandez, Hall, Listi, Parkinson
      Tier 3 – Ortiz, Gowdy, Young

      1. I hope this year we see the potential rehabilitation of Odubel (why do people call him Doobie? It’s not his name or his nickname and he’s not a pitching coach – I think it’s kind of insulting, but that’s just me). I think it’s both cruel and stupid that he has not had a chance to redeem himself and that they have intentionally buried him with no way out. Klentak has a cruel side to him (seriously, he does – he left Pete Macknanin out to dry), so let’s move on from that passive-aggressive nonsense and give the guy a chance.

        1. you are just being sensitive and probably still have the Klentak stigma on you. I’m obviously not a Klentak lover but I think the decision to “box” Doobie is more the Phillies isolating themselves with the issue which has been gathering a lot of attention that time.

          And I’m also not a big fan of Doobie and his WAR thingy but I do believe that he deserves another chance (probably not in Philly) since he has MLB skills.

        2. I’m all for second chances, but anyone thinking Odubel is going to upgrade the Phillies CF position is wearing rosiest of red Phillies sunglasses. The guy hasn’t had a good season in three years (.255/.310/.420 in 2018, .222/.288/.341 in 2019).

          1. Yes, but, really, you’re talking about one sort of bad year, a small fraction of a season and another season and a half where he was suspended or buried.

            If they don’t want him, fine, just let him go. If they are going to give him a chance to fight back for a roster spot, give him a chance.

            Finally, Odubel is an odd duck – no argument there. But the raw talent is (or perhaps was – we don’t know) exceptional. His bat-to-ball skills were excellent and he’s a very good athlete.

            If he can be serious about baseball and not be a goofball, there may be something there yet.

        3. Rich Dubee…former pitching coach…got it now.

          As far as the “Doobie” .reference…apparently came from his days with the Rangers 6/7 years ago for some reason….who knows why!.

          1. ‘Doobie’….2011…from BP
            2B Odubel Herrera
            Who: Infielder Odubel “Doobie” Herrera signed for $160,000 in 2008 out of Venezuela.

            Why He’s Next in Line: Herrera has the combination of fan-approved hustle/grit and legit tools. Of all the players in the Rangers system that I had the privilege of watching this spring, Herrera stands alone as my favorite. (Yes, even more than #TheLegend.) You might assume that I favor Herrera because his nickname is “Doobie.” Am I that transparent? The truth is, I love watching Herrera play because his “annoy the opposition” tool is 80-grade. The 19-year-old Venezuelan isn’t a traditional pest; rather, Herrera has legit tools that allow his frustrating style of play to pack a serious punch. He’s a tough out at the plate, with a short, compact swing, and a knack for hard contact. Doobie is only listed at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, but his body appears quite stocky, with thick legs, short, muscular arms, and a barreled chest, giving him serious upper-body strength. More of a gap-to-gap hitter at the present, Herrera projects to hit 5-10 home runs per season down the line, but his swing isn’t conducive for driving balls over the fence.

            1. “You might assume that I favor Herrera because his nickname is “Doobie.””

              I STAND CORRECTED!!! My points about Odubel and second chances, however, still remain.

            2. Well Herrera will be playing winter ball in the DR..with the Cibao Giants…so that is a start for him…and he will have something to prove I am sure.

  40. I believe he should get a second chance, on another team, and that since he is not playing here, but being paid, he should be released, sent a check, and allowed to hook on to another team that wants to give him that chance. KuKo, my issue with your post above the Herrera one is that we don’t have enough core pieces. I am resigned to losing Realmuto but I think he should already have been signed, and that is an Ownership fail. We have Harper, Nola and Wheeler. Bohm had a very good, albeit short, season. But, we don’t know where he plays going forward. Then, we have a maybe on Rhys Hoskins, and an “I am praying” with Scott Kingery. Not nearly enough. We don’t need an All Star at every position, but we need a heckuva lot more talent than we currently do. If we do get a new FO that can evaluate talent, who knows if that happens?, that will take a number of years to bear fruit. In the meantime, if we are to contend for a Playoff spot, we need to spend to do so. Otherwise, 10 years may become 13 or 14.

    1. The Daryl Morey experience is eye opening. If you get the right person, who can identify talent and knows what he (or she) is doing, things can get moving fast. Or you can get Andy MacPhail and more sitting on your hands. Up to you Mr. Middleton.

  41. I’m sorry to report that LHP Kyle Young has voluntarily retired. The transaction was reported by MiLB Transactions on Twitter about 12 hours ago and is listed in the Florida State League transactions log as having occurred on the 18th.

    This makes me sad. Kyle looked to have a future in baseball when he was sidelined by TJ surgery. We spoke at the Complex when time permitted and I had dinner with him on a couple of occasions. I wasn’t able to speak with him during his rehab due to Covid restrictions at the Complex. I had assumed that he was progressing as well as Ben Brown who had the same procedure around the same time.

    I will miss being able to pick him out as pitchers worked out in the outfields at the Complex. At 7-foot he stood head and shoulders above the others. And, I’ll always remember the day he faced a traveling team of professionals ranging in age from 19 to 24 on Roberts Field and he struck out the side on 9 pitches without so much as a foul tip.

      1. Sad to hear the news on Kyle Young. Best of luck to him in his post career journey.
        BTW … I still remember the picture Jim posted a couple of years ago of Kyle standing next to Jake Hernandez. It was funny because they looked the number “10”.

    1. That’s a shame, he had real upside at one time. It’s a reminder that TJ arms don’t always come back better than before. He really is tall!

  42. Very sad to hear, and wish him well. Caleb Cotham is the new PC. I hope we picked a gem, we need all the good fortune we can get.

  43. Good luck to Kyle Young….was really looking forward to see how he would develop.
    Also now wondering if his Long Island bud…Nick Fanti…will also call it a day.
    Two lefties that showed so much promise 4 years ago.

  44. Within the hour the Phillies will have their initial 2021 40 submitted.
    Hopefully there are good surprises on it…no head scratchers.

  45. It is very sad to hear about Kyle Young. And it kind of gives me a new perspective on why pitchers are more insistent on seeking 2nd and 3rd opinions when faced with the prospect of surgery. I wish him well on whatever he decides to do.

  46. Phillies added six prospects to their 40-man roster – RHP Kyle Dohy, LHP Bailey Falter, LHP Damon Jones, INF Nick Maton, RHP Francisco Morales, and OF Simon Muzziotti.

    1. They all look like good selections….all the pitchers are spot on.
      And Maton could be a reserve infielder sometime next season in Philly.

      Mayo of rated the systems tool guys:
      Best Tools

      Hit: Bryson Stott
      Power: Jhailyn Ortiz
      Run: Johan Rojas
      Arm: Jhailyn Ortiz
      Field: Jonathan Guzman
      Best athlete: Luke Williams

      Fastball: Mick Abel
      Curveball: Zach Warren
      Slider: Francisco Morales
      Changeup: Kyle Dohy
      Control: Ethan Lindow

    2. You did report that Falter looked good at Instructs. Nice call! His being protected is the most positive thing to me about the additions.

      1. Well, I had heard that he was sought after during trade conversations. It would have sucked if they didn’t protect him and he was selected during the Rule 5 Draft.

        But, I have always liked the way he pitched. He has command, throws strikes, walks few. Just a tic more velo is all that’s needed.

  47. Does anyone have any info on 40 Man additions? Maybe no one at the Phillies knows there was a deadline?

  48. In addition to six 40-man roster additions, the Phillies have added 15 prospects to the IronPigs roster to protect them from the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft –
    C Abrahan Gutierrez
    C Juan Aparicio
    LHP Jakob Hernandez
    1B Austin Listi
    RF Jhailyn Ortiz
    LHP Manuel Silva
    LHP Jhordany Mezquita
    2B Daniel Brito
    LHP Nick Fanti
    LHP Zach Warren
    RHP Joel Cesar
    LHP David Parkinson
    C Edgar Cabral
    C Rodolfo Duran
    SS Jonathan Guzman

    This doesn’t mean that they will play for the IronPigs. Reassignments will come during spring training.

    1. Looks like Darick Hall is free to go now, though he may not have seven seasons as a minor leaguer to qualify for Rule 55 status, I wonder if the Phillies will let him go and try to land on a team with a better opportunity to get to the majors after the Rule 5 draft is completed.
      IMO….Hall can be that next generation late-bloomer Max Muncy/Luke Voit type player. Rebuilding teams like the Royals, Mariners, Pirates, Tigers or Rangers should look into him.

      1. …….a sad day for you I’m sure! I’ll call Riverview and suggest more anti-depressants for today. Perhaps Rocco and his fat girl friend can come over and you can watch Julia Child reruns together!

        1. Appreciate the offer…pardon me, but I’ll pass on the visitation from rocco and his full-figure , natural winter heating gal.

  49. Okay, so the Phillies give Odubel a chance at redemption, and the now much more mature, chastened and motivated El Torrito is an all-star.

    Trevor Bauer, another case of maturity found, follows his favorite pitching coach to the Land of Red Pin Stripes and turns in a full-season Cy Young performance, giving the Phillies the best one-through-three starters in baseball.

    JT discovers the economic realities of being a free agent in the year of COVID and re-ups with the Phillies.

    Spencer Howard shows the skeptics and starts 30 games, winning 15 of them.

    The Phillies hold the sports world’s first post-COVID championship parade and we are all happy.

    1. BTW, Ned Rice is GM of the year and wins a long-term contract. Sometimes it is the unheralded understudy who turns out to be the real star. Just ask Barbra Streisand, for those old enough to remember her story, like me.

    2. In your scenario, I don’t think Howard will need to make 30 starts. Bauer insists that he wants to pitch every 4th day, not game but day. If he were to get his way, that would mean 44-45 starts. Let’s say 44. Add 32 each for Eflin, Wheeler, and Nola that leaves 22 for Howard. With a rotation restart after the All Star break, Howard might only get 20 starts. That would allow the Phillies to bring him and his arm along slowly, on an innings count. That would set him up nicely for a full load in 2022.

  50. Frank…..Wow, Romus’ glass the other week was more than half full, but your cup runneth over. What pray tell is your libation of choice? I could be encouraged to follow suit.

    1. Hah….anymore, for the most part, it is Pau d’Arco tea.

      Now those prospect tools are Jon Mayo’s findings from
      He gets to talk to the MLB club’s scouts so he does have some intrinsic first-hand knowledge of what raw tools the prospects possess.

    1. Half of the teams in MLB have open roster spots, and can take part in the rule 5 draft (if they want to). The Phillies could pick as high as 6th (behind the Rangers, Angels, Mets, Nats, and Mariners). They could draft a player for themselves or take a guy to trade to another team.
      After taking a quick look at some of the guys left unprotected, there are a few pitchers that jump out to me as lottery tickets who might have a better chance to reach their potential with the help of Caleb Cotham, Bill Henzel and the Driveline squad. Brendon Little, Trevor Stephan, and Riley Pint come warts, but have the stuff to be successful if someone could harness their talent. Jose Soriano is another talented arm, but hasn’t pitched above low A.
      Everybody remembers Pint from the 2016 draft. He can still throw 100+ MPH, he just can’t throw strikes. Little is from Philly. He’s a guy I think the Phillies could move into the bullpen. Little is a LHP with a plus CB, but has lost the “zing” on his FB. He threw 97 in college, but has been more 90-92 with the Cubs as a starter. Look at what Henzel did for JoJo Romero. Romero was hitting 97 even 98 out of the pen this season.

      Brian Barber was a part of the scouting department who drafted Trevor Stephan. Stephan has a big FB (mid 90’s as a starter). I think he’s another possibility for the Phillies.

      1. I liked Little back then…..maybe he could resurrect his career with proper or just different coaching ideas or just something different to add to his arsenal.
        And Stephan was another Yankee farmhand who seem to be on the right track two years ago and then whatever happened, who knows.

        But agree those are two arms the Phillies should look into.

  51. Any and Anybody………..what is the current state of affairs on Jhailyn Ortiz. Is his progress in limbo or is he progressing? A jump from Clearwater to LHV……is that just a part of this protection scheme or is it warranted? Who has seen him lately in this screwed up year?

    1. In his post above, Jim mentioned that LHV assignments aren’t permanent but mainly for protection from minor league rule 5. Ortiz might see Reading in 2021 but not necessarily Allentown.

      1. I was surprised a little when Jon Mayo and their staff rated his arm as the best tool in the Phillies system ..I understand the power rating because whenever he connects it sounds like it.
        For a big guy he is athletic.
        Might be one of those guys who takes a little longer, like the Reds Aristides Aquino from 2019, or Franmil Reyes when he was with the 2019 Padres.

  52. Those interested in what the Dodgers’ org left unprotected from their farm system:
    Dodgers available in the Rule 5 draft:
    Donovan Casey….Brett de Geus, (No. 27)….Omar Estevez, (No. 21)…Marshall Kasowski,… Jeren Kendall, … Logan Salow,… Justin Yurchak,…. Guillermo Zuniga and Cody Thomas (No. 30)

    Brett de Geus, RHP…23 years old
    Los Angeles’ player development staff has helped de Geus upgrade his pitches. After topping out at 95 mph with a straight fastball in 2018, he now deals a 93-98 mph heater with running action. He also has improved his breaking pitches and now operates with a low-80s curveball with power and depth and an upper-80s slider/cutter.

  53. Okay, so last night I had visions of Phillies grandeur, including Hinkie winning the Mega Millions lottery and donating his take to the denizens of Phuture Phillies in equal sums.

    Unfortunately, tonight I have been visited by Ghosts of Phillies Past. Images of Ferguson Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg dance in my head, as do Bobby Malkmus, Ted Lepcio and Choo Choo Coleman.

    In this vision, New York Met JT Realmuto become NL MVP, Sixto Sanchez wins 30 games for the Marlins and Gabe Kapler and Chris Young return to the Phillies dugout.

    The Phillies lose 110 games in a COVID-shortened 120-game season.

    The only happy Phuture Phillie is Hinkie, who salivates at getting the Number One pick in the draft. Then someone whispers in his ear the names of Phillies top draft picks past. Hinkie stops salivating and buys a Mega Millions ticket figuring his chances are better.

    1. rocco..hah…..highly unlikely….though have to admit his next recruiting class …2022….looks top notch.
      They need to get Joe Moorehead back as OC……and Bill O’Brien is currently unemployed so he is out there..
      Prefer Matt Ruhle…but Panthers have him locked up for 4 years
      Another PSU guy still available …Al Golden.

      1. Over the past two recruiting classes, Franklin has struck out on some incredible in-state players. That catches up with you.

      2. I’m not a college football guy, but even I know that Penn State probably won’t stand this for a full season and definitely won’t tolerate even mediocrity next year. It’s hard to imagine Franklin surviving the offseason. As for Matt Ruhle, the general rule is that once in the NFL, guys rarely go back to college if they have great success in the pros. Bill O’Brien would be an interesting take – I could see that happening again if he wants to go back to that way of life.

        1. Franklin just recently signed an extension. He’s going to be at PSU for a little while. He was never a great game day coach. He wins by being a top 10 recruiter. However, like I said above, he’s missed out on some big time in-state and near-state recruits the past couple of cycles. He lost a 5 star PA WR last year to OSU. The kid not only lived an hou(ish) away from campus, his then girlfriend attended PSU. Recently, Franklin missed on a 5 star OT from PA who’s dad played for Paterno.

          1. Yeah Hinkie…..that local WR was Julian Fleming, though there was a question on his age I read back then….he may have been a year or more older than the normal HS senior. I think maybe the reason Franklin backed off any full-court blitz recruiting after his initial commitment to OSU.

  54. Looks like Dodger VP & Asst GM: Jeffrey Kingston is getting some attention by Middleton and MacPhail in their search.
    Before the Dodgers…..he was interim VP and GM with the Mariners and assisted Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto in player acquisitions, contract negotiations and player evaluations while overseeing the player development department.
    Before Seattle was with the Padres for 9 yrs including a role as SD’s director of baseball ops………so he does seem to have a wealth of experience.
    A West Coast guy it looks like.

    1. Okay, well, that may be good, but frankly, “a wealth of experience” does not always mean very much. Very few people have more “experience” than Andy MacPhail and you see where that got us and, by the way, I have to ask just how good the Mariners and Padres were at developing talent. The Phillies have to find a way to get the best mind available, not just someone who they think is experienced and might be a good fit.

      I will say this. Middleton knows his fans and he has to know, as a group, the fan base is irate at how poorly the team handled the rebuild. However, Middleton has been horrible at identifying the correct executives to lead his club and just as bad at assessing their performance mid-stream (the extensions for Klentak and MacPhail were ridiculous – you should never award an executive for executing an expensive high-profile move – one that any fan could do). Not mediocre, horrible, so we will see.

Comments are closed.