The Professional Baseball Agreement has expired. The 2019 international signing period has closed. Trading between teams has resumed. Qualifying offers have been made and accepted or declined. Free agency has started. Rosters have been set. Contracts for the 2021 season have been tendered. The Rule 5 Draft has been held.
Now, the Hot Stove Season can go into full swing.
I have consolidated information from COTS and Baseball Reference into a speadsheet for you to reference as you come up with trades and signings that you think the Phillies should undertake. I’ll keep it up-to-date. I’ll pin this on the site for reference. Try and refer back to it occasionally when suggesting moves.
There are no rules when playing GM. But, trades and free agent signings don’t happen in a vacuum.
The stuff I’ve seen so far doesn’t address the repercussions of a transaction. Sometimes, the actual needs of the Phillies aren’t even considered.
For instance, the Phillies lost two key offensive components with the free agency of Didi Gregorious and J.T. Realmuto, have a very real need for some bullpen help probably including a closer, defensive holes at the positions vacated by Gregorious and Realmuto, experienced rotation depth, and bench help. These should be their targets.
So, one of the first suggested acquisitions I see is Jackie Bradley, Jr. Signing JBJ fills the last spot on the 40-man roster without addressing any of their needs. . It adds a weak-hitting center fielder to a group that already includes 7 outfielders and 4 center fielders. He might a good defensive option, but we have Adam Haseley, a better hitting option.
I also saw an aggressive suggestion that included 6 or 7 free agent signings. Probably, all nice additions, but where do they fit on the 40-man roster. You’d need 5-6 spots to for Rule 5 protection. DFA-ing them or anyone else exposes them to waivers. Someone like David Hale would still have to be paid since he has a contract. His $850K doesn’t seem like much, but it is for a team that is crying poor. I’m not sure we have 5 DFAs on the roster.
The same suggestion included trading Jean Segura as a salary dump. There are several problems with this. First, his no-trade clause. He received $1M to waive the clause when Seattle traded him to the Phillies. Having to pay Segura to approve a trade adds cost to the deal. Second, a trade partner is very likely to want to move a similar contract back as part of the deal. That plus the cost of his waiving his no-trade clause kinda negates any benefit of the dump. Third, I haven’t heard any recent interest in Segura since a possible interest by Toronto a couple weeks ago. Looks like the market evaporated.
These are just a few of the things that should be considered when building a trade or signing free agents.
How would I go about correcting the Phillies roster?
- I forget about relief pitchers for now. Other than a closer or two, the second tier of available free agent relievers are about the same. I think the Phillies agenda is to wait them out and address the bullpen in January. Sooner if relievers start flying off the shelves.
- I concentrate on catcher. The Phillies are not going north with Rafael Marchan on their active roster. They need another catcher. Realmuto would be nice, and I think the Phillies would like to sign him at their number. I think they can outbid the Astros for his services, but don’t think they want to get into a bidding war. This type of negotiation could drag out into February. I think the Phillies should grab one of the less expensive, veteran, defense-first catchers to pair with Knapp. (His AVG, OBP, and OPS were all better than JT’s in 2020.) If they can swoop in on Realmuto later, great. The depth of the third catcher is a plus. For now, the defensive catcher fills the 40.
- I sign Didi or Andrelton Simmons. Didi would be my first choice because he’s a known commodity in CBP. This move requires a DFA, Kyle Holder fits the bill. If he clears waivers, fine. If not, oh well.
- Infield looks like Hoskins, Segura, Didi or Simmons, Bohm with Kingery as utility infielder. Outfield is McCutchen, Haseley, Harper so far. Moniak and Muzziotti aren’t going to ride the bench. Quinn is expendable in my world. I would go after some depth like Marwin Gonzalez or Cameron Maybin on one-year contracts. I’d even consider Jay Bruce. I would like Phil Goselin as one of my spare outfielders. So, Goselin and one of the other 3 (Gonzalez, Bruce, Maybin) and DFA Garlick and Quinn. Would you consider Braun on the cheap?
- Any one of a dozen free agent pitchers would look good at the back end of our rotation until we’re sure Spencer Howard is ready to go. DFA Hamilton.
- Time to address the bullpen and catcher. Sign the two best high-leverage relief pitcher left on the market. Really should have addressed the closer situation back in December. Big Dave likes a closer. Joe does, too. Remember Mariano? I think we have enough talent on the 40 and in the upper minors to supplement the rest of the bullpen. Anyway, that’ll lead to two pitchers being DFA-ed.
- Catcher. I really didn’t add enough offense to replace Didi and JT. Simmons is Didi-lite. A full season of Bohm will help. Haseley should continue to improve. He was hitting well when he went down with an injury. Looks like I have to bite the bullet and sign JT. I can avoid a DFA here if one of the pitchers or Goselin signed a minor league contract. That player wouldn’t have to be added to the 40 until after Dominguez goes on to the 60-day IL.
- Sign as many pitchers both starters and relievers to minor league contracts with invites to ST as is reasonable. Keep ’em or cut ’em after camp as needed.
- So, that makes my rotation – Nola, Wheeler, Eflin, new guy, Velasquez with Howard adding strength in extended spring. I’m sure there are a number of days he can spend down there that will allow the Phillies to screw with his service time. (typed with venomous sarcasm) (Don’t count out Ramon Rosso)
- The bullpen – new closer, new set-up guy, Neris, Romero, Brogdon, Rosso, Jones/Sanchez/Quezada/Suarez and Hale
- Maybe sign another high-leverage reliever? Yeah.
It ain’t easy painting a roster and staying inside the lines.
The Phillies have 39 players on the 40-man roster. (This is all info included in the spreadsheet) They have –
- six multi-year contracts – Bryce Harper, Zach Wheeler, Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, Aaron Nola, and Scott Kingery.
- five one-year contracts – Hector Neris, Zach Eflin, David Hale, Andrew Knapp, and Seranthony Dominguez
- two one-year contracts pending arbitration – Vince Velasquez and Rhys Hoskins
- thirteen Pre-Arb Players to fill out the active roster
- thirteen Minor League Players to fill the 40-man roster
- one empty 40-man roster slot
Current 40-Man Roster –
- Bryce Harper, RF – 3rd year of a 13-year contract
- Zack Wheeler, RHP – 2nd year of a 5-year contract
- Andrew McCutchen, LF – 3rd year of a 3-year contract w/option
- Jean Segura, SS – 4th year of a 5-year contract
- Aaron Nola, RHP – 3rd year of a 4-year contract w/option
- Scott Kingery, 2B – 4th year of a 6-year contract w/3 options
- Hector Neris, RHP – signed 1-year/$5M contract
- Zach Eflin, RHP – 2nd of 3 arb years, signed 1-year/$4.45M contract
- Andrew Knapp, C – 2nd of 3 arb years, signed 1-year/$1.1M contract
- David Hale, RHP – 2nd of 3 arb years, signed 1-year/$850K contract
- Seranthony Dominguez, RHP – 1st of 4 arb years, signed 1/year $727,500 contract
- Vince Velasquez, RHP – tendered contract
- Rhys Hoskins, 1B – tendered contract
- Victor Arano, RHP – arb-eligible in 2022
- Ranger Suarez, LHP – arb-eligible in 2022
- Adam Haseley, OF – arb-eligible in 2023
- Roman Quinn, OF – arb-eligible in 2022
- Connor Brogdon, RHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Garrett Cleavinger, LHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Spencer Howard, RHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Cole Irvin, LHP – 1st arb-eligible in 2024
- Mauricio Llovera, RHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Adonis Medina, RHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Johan Quezada, RHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Jojo Romero, LHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Ramon Rosso, RHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Christopher Sanchez, LHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Rafael Marchan, C – arb-eligible in 2024
- Alec Bohm, 3B – arb-eligible in 2024
- Mickey Moniak, OF – arb-eligible in 2024
- Kyle Garlick, OF – arb-eligible in 2023
- Kyle Dohy, LHP – contract selected November 20th, 2020
- Bailey Falter, LHP – contract selected November 20th, 2020
- Damon Jones, LHP – contract selected November 20th, 2020
- Francisco Morales, RHP – contract selected November 20th, 2020
- Nick Maton, SS – contract selected November 20th, 2020
- Simon Muzziotti, CF – contract selected November 20th, 2020
- Ian Hamilton, RHP – arb-eligible in 2024
- Kyle Holder, SS – Ruke 5 selection
Roster size for the 2021 season should revert back to the previously agreed upon 26 players with pitchers limited to 13 of those slots. Any deviation will have to be negotiated along with season length and start date.