Open Discussion: Week of December 20th

Happy Holidays everybody!  No matter what you celebrate, I hope you all enjoy your seasonal holiday.  And, if you don’t celebrate, then Happy Baseball!!!

No major activity by the Phillies on the trade or free agents markets, yet.  But, that’s to be expected as their new President of Baseball Operations familiarizes himself with the organization.

Dave Dombrowski may have the reputation of a guy who mortgages the future for a world series.  But, he has shown the ability to work within the guidelines set by the organization that hires him.

Yes, he traded prospects when with Boston.  But, he acquired Chris Sale and won a world series.

During his brief stay with the Expos, he built up their farm system.  He was recruited away by the expansion Marlins and not only built up their farm system but won a world series with a team comprised primarily of high-priced free agents.  After he left, the 2003 Marlins won a world series with a line up comprised of a lot of the young players he acquired for their minor league system.  With the Tigers, he inherited a bad team and made 5 playoff appearances and went to the world series in 2006 and 2012.  In Boston, he was given the mandate to return to the world series.  In 3 seasons he won 3 division titles and the 2018 world series.

Dombrowski has joined organizations at differing times in their development.  It is probably very inaccurate to assume that the “win now at any cost” mandate in Boston defines the way he has and will perform his job.

However, it is that reputation that will lead to many of the trade and free agent rumors we will hear.

Take this gem from Jon Heyman.  On December 19th, he tweeted this out.

I read this and since it runs counter to what I’ve been hearing, I researched it.  I started with the credited journalist, Brittany Ghiroli.  She’s a beat writer for the Nationals who writes for the Athletic.  I started in Twitter and could find no tweets about the Nats and Realmuto.  I did find a “read this” tweet on the 16th and 17th for a story she published in the Athletic on the 15th.

MLBTR gave Ghiroli a credit on this on the 17th.

The Nationals and the representative for free-agent catcher J.T. Realmuto “have had early discussions,” Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic writes. Despite that, Ghiroli casts doubt on the Nationals signing Realmuto because of general manager Mike Rizzo’s suggestion earlier this week that the club doesn’t have the catcher position atop its list of priorities. Rizzo indicated first base and the outfield are bigger needs for the Nationals, who have Yan Gomes coming off a bounce-back season (over just 30 games) as their starting backstop. Even if the Nats want to count on Gomes as their starter in 2021, they could at least re-sign Kurt Suzuki or add a backup to replace him. Tres Barrera, who has totaled two plate appearances in the majors, is the only catcher on their 40-man roster after Gomes.

The story by Ghiroli contained one paragraph regarding Realmuto and the Nationals intentions.  I’ve included it below.

… “Ownership has given me marching orders to put a championship-caliber club on the field,” Rizzo said. “That’s my purpose. That’s my focus. And that’s our objective this offseason.”

Prying for details is an excruciating exercise, but a necessary one to add context. The Nationals have had early discussions with J.T. Realmuto’s agent, but the best — and most expensive — available catcher is an unlikely fit. Not in a winter where Washington’s main priority is a big bat, ideally at first base or a corner outfielder spot. Adding an expensive catcher seems to be decadence in a time of front office cuts, budget cuts and a roster with clear holes elsewhere. But Yan Gomes is on the team, he could catch 100 games and Realmuto — while Rizzo demurred comment on the extent of their interest — shares an agency with enough other players to make it silly for the Nats to not do their due diligence. Beyond a big bat — or in a dream world, two— the Nats need starting rotation depth, a lefty in the bullpen and much better infield defense around Turner.

So, four days later, Heyman feels it is important to report that “The Nats have interest in J.T. Realmuto.”  The author he credits and MLBTR had already opined that the Nationals have other, more important goals.  That’s “Click-bait” John for you.  That’s why I constantly suggest that you consider the source when these rumors are reported.  Sure, guys like Heyman will “break” news once in a while, but don’t let the misses upset you in between.

Sorry for being so long-winded.  This was all written before my accident and I decided to leave it in this weeks article since I wouldn’t have much more.

I guess the “message” is –

Don’t let the inactivity bother you and don’t let the rumors upset you.

(FWIW.  The guys in which I’ve heard the Phillies have interest are all still on the board.)

Winter League Baseball

I cut my finger pretty badly and can’t do all the keyboard work necessary to gather all the winter league updates.  Funny how important a left index finger is.

There is this though.  The Australian Baseball League is in jeopardy.  Weekend games between Melbourne and Sydney were postponed as COVID-19 cases increased in Sydney.  The team returned home before an anticipated border shutdown between states was ordered.

Also, Ramon Rosso reached his innings limit and has been shut down for the remember of the winter.

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

Key Dates:

  • 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 2020 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 v. Blue Jays
  • April 1, 2021 – Opening Day for ALL 30 teams
  • June 25, 2021 – Close of the 2020 international signing period
  • July 11-13, 2021 – 2021 Amateur Draft

The rosters and lists are up to date as of December 20th … 318 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)

Reports have surfaced that the Phillies have signed INF Ronald Torreyes, C Christian Bethancourt, and RHP Neftali Feliz to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.  They’ll be added to the Transactions List when the transactions actually appear somewhere.

12/10/2020 – Phillies claimed SS Kyle Holder off waivers from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
12/10/2020 – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre claimed RHP Reggie McClain off waivers from Lehigh Valley
12/07/2020 – Phillies claimed RHP Ian Hamilton off waivers from Seattle
11/20/2020 – Phillies selected the contract of LHP Kyle Dohy from Lehigh Valley
11/20/2020 – Phillies selected the contract of LHP Damon Jones from Lehigh Valley
11/20/2020 – Phillies selected the contract of SS Nick Maton from Lehigh Valley
11/20/2020 – Phillies selected the contract of RHP Francisco Morales from Lehigh Valley
11/20/2020 – Phillies selected the contract of CF Simon Muzziotti from Lehigh Valley
11/20/2020 – Phillies selected the contract of LHP Bailey Falter from Lehigh Valley

127 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of December 20th

  1. Good stuff, Jim. But the suspense is killing me. What FA’s have you heard the Phillies linked to? Jim Salisbury also said (in his podcast) an industry source told him the Phillies were working on a trade (didn’t know names involved) before DD was hired. He wondered whether DD would work to push that deal across the finish line.

    1. BTW … Salisbury also seemed skeptical of a Didi return. He suggested the team could bring back Freddy Galvis as a cheaper alternative. I like Freddy, and think he is one of the game’s premier defensive players … but … IMO Galvis’ glove doesn’t make up for the loss of Gregorius’ bat. Now … maybe if the team intends to use the savings in salaries to invest in a top closer (Liam Hendricks) or an upgrade in the rotation (James Paxton), then this could possibly make some sense. However, if this is strictly a move to roll back salary, then Middleton is probably helping to waste another prime year of Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and JT Realmuto (If/when he’s re-signed).

      1. Hinkie….they could bring back Cesar….a Gold Glove guy now….move Kingery or Segura to short. Cesar’s bat and base path speed play well.
        With the increased amonut and frequency of defensive infield shifts now- a- days….approx. 45%…the need for a glove only shortstop may not be as critical as in the past.

        1. Romus … I got the impression (from listening to Salisbury) the team isn’t wild about using Segura or Kingery at SS on a full time basis. So I don’t see a reunion with Cesar (sorry, Rocco).

        2. Kingery and Galvis starting in the IF. Probably the worst 2nd/SS hitting tandem in the history of baseball. No thanks

          1. If they cannot move Jean Segura, I think they will shop Kingery and try to get a defensive shortstop in free agency until Stott is ready…with Segura going to second base.
            Plus….why draft Holder to add to the 40 with Maton…both versatility/ utility guys it appears…and then there is 24-year old Luke Williams who was at the Alt Site this past summer and maybe getting some reps in the ABL with the Adelaide Giants….if they ever get their season off the ground down under.

            1. I am hoping it is Andrelton Simmons.
              But whoever it is…they need to do something different with their defensive shifts….too many low-EV GBs got thru the overloaded side of the shift and that defeats the sole purpose of the shift..

      2. On, David Schoenfield attempted to put together possible deals for Blake Snell and Kevin Kiermaier. Here’s what he thinks would work for the Phillies …

        Phillies get: 3 years of Snell and 2 years + a team option of Kiermairer
        Rays get: Spencer Howard, Mick Abel, and Adam Haseley

        This is exactly the kind of move you’d expect from Dave Dombrowski. Would you do it?
        I love Snell, and I like Kiermaier. Both are cost effective (Snell 10M AAV, Kiermairer 8.9M AAV), but I worry about Snell’s health. Despite the risk (and with the team doctor’s blessing), I might have to do this trade to maximize the prime years of Harper, Nola, Wheeler, Eflin, Hoskins, and Realmuto (when he’s re-signed).

        1. If that’s all it takes to get Snell, then yeah pull the trigger. I honestly think we could get more for him at the deadline this year if we’re not competing again.

          And I’m saying this as a believer in Howard.

          1. I hate commenting or suggesting anything negative about Spencer Howard because he seems like a great guy and his dad comes on here frequently. But Spencer’s inability to hold velocity past a couple of innings last year was a serious issue. Whether it gets resolved is very unclear. Anyway, whether this is a good trade or not depends in large measure on whether you think Mick Abel is a future 1/2. If he is, I’d be really, really reluctant to part with him. I view two super young players in this franchise as virtually untouchable: Abel and Bohm. Of the existing players, Nola is pretty much untouchable too because his contract is so below market.

            1. I think Abel has to be considered a potential 1/2 for this deal to be plausible. If the Rays think of him as a 3/4 or a reliever, they wouldn’t do the deal.

              But Abel isn’t close to helping this team, so as is almost always the case, this is trading upside for proximity and less risk. Honestly, it’s more likely Howard burns us than Abel. Just for the fact that he’s already made it to the big leagues. We all know how horrifyingly high the attrition rate is for prospects. Especially pitchers.

              Anyways, I don’t begrudge people for wanting to hold onto our prospects. We all come here because we love watching them progress and mature. But in terms of value, Snell has way more than Abel at the moment. In a couple years, that might change. But if we’re trying to win with this core, a couple years is too long to wait.

            2. We want to hold onto prospects because we can’t compete with only a top-heavy team and no young talent. If you trade all the prospects, sooner or later, more likely sooner, you’ll be the Angels. We may even be the Angels now. Even DD held onto Betts (for a while), Devers and others.

              I always say this because it’s always true, the best organizations hold onto their top prospects for deal life, that’s one of the reasons they are the best organizations. Are there exceptions? Sure, but not too many.

        2. Sorry, Hinkie, I have to disagree with you on Snell. I am nowhere near as high on him as many on this site, because to me, he is nothing more than a 5 inning pitcher. When he won his CY Young, he only averaged slightly above 5 innings per start, and even in this past World Series, Tampa had no problems pulling him after 5 in a must win game. And Dave Dombrowski has already stated that he expects his starters to go 7 innings. If I am giving up Spencer Howard and Mick Abel, then I want a Roy Halladay in his prime as a return.

        3. I have to respectfully disagree with you, Hinkie, on Snell. I am not as high on Snell as a lot of people, because I think he is nothing more than a five inning pitcher. When he won his CY Young award, he averaged a little more than 5 innings per start, and Tampa had no problems pulling him after five innings in a must win game in the World Series. If I am parting with Howard and Abel, I better be getting Roy Halladay in his prime as a return.

          1. That may have been Cash’s philosophy for the Rays.
            Snell’s last 8 starts he threw 42 innings total…all reaching a minimum of 5 innings and gave up 35 hits…..average pitch count 80 in the 80s.
            The Rays are a team that rely more on relievers to finish up games …..and also open up games.
            Who knows if Snell could go further…..he certainly does not have the wear and tear for a guy who has started 108 games in his career with 556 innings pitched.

            1. I more worry about Snell’s arm health than his ability to go deep into games. As Romus mentioned, I believe not allowing their starting pitchers to go through opposing lineups for a third time is a Rays’ philosophy. Charlie Morton only went more than 5 IP one time in nine regular season starts this season (and that one was 5.2 IP). Tampa builds strong BP’s, and relies on them.

            2. Snell would be a great fit between Nola and Wheeler for sure, but after parting with Sixto already I’d really hate to send out Abel and Howard. If we had a system like, say, the Dodgers’, then you could afford to swing that kind of move without devastating the system. But the Phillies really can’t, even though I do think the proposal is quite fair value-wise. Also, while realizing that the arms available in FA don’t have the same level of productivity as Snell, the fact that so many arms are available gives me a bit of hope for the Phils to sign two-three productive arms for cheap, i.e. what the Rays just did with Wacha for 3 million bucks. I’d tell Archie Bradley to come on board and fight for a rotation spot. I’d snatch up Taijuan Walker and Trevor Williams as well. I know it’s probably not wise, but I’d love to see a stud like Felix Hernandez make his comeback in a Phillies uniform; same for Chris Archer. I know they might be about done, and its purely sexy-name recognition at this point, but still… I want it. If the Phils make enough smart moves here to compete with Howard for that 4th and 5th spot, they can finally move Vinny to the pen or trade him.

          2. Wawatom…………agree with you! One 5 inning SP, (VV) is enough for any roster. I’m not giving up Abel for that.

        4. I would drive Spencer and Haseley to the Philly airport personally for that deal.

          I like Spencer a lot and love Abel. But that is a home run deal for the Phils.

  2. I just wanted to say happy holidays to everyone and to say a big thank you to Jim and and also to the frequent posters on here for all that you do to make this a must go to for me. You all allow me to enjoy baseball all year round!

  3. I’m surprised the Nats haven’t been linked to Springer. The Nats and more specifically Rizzo has a track record of where he likes to spend money.

    They definitely need a CF/OF and we all remember when we left the door open for them to swipe JDubb out from under us.

    Sure they would like to do something at catcher with only Gomes on the roster, and sure if they aren’t in on JT they would like the Phillies to think they are but again and Rizzo states as much above its not a position he traditionally sinks a bunch of money into.

    1. DMAR…agree.
      The Nats payroll after 2021 is not too bad….Max comes off, but he will need to be replaced and Trea Turner is going into Arb4 so he will go close to the $18/20M in 2022.

      But Rizzo, like you said, usually goes for other positions than catcher….and really when it comes down to it, 5 years for JTR is probably the wrong move for any team other than the Phillies…and that reason for chemical morale purposes

  4. I would like to echo Murray’s comments above. Wish everyone the best holidays ever. Especially, my Uncle Rocco, see you at the family get together, Uncle.

  5. Merry Christmas to all.

    My thoughts to you Jim and your business finger.
    Remember when we were younger and wondered what would happen if George Jetson hurt his index finger?

    Please Santa, put a JT under my Christmas tree.

    Blessed holidays to all.

  6. Thanks for all you do jim, and I hope the finger heals perfectly and quickly! My best wishes to all of you! Have a wonderful, and safe, Holiday! I have to believe that whatever happened between Ownership and JTR’s representatives has been resolved ,to the extent that they are still in communication and feelings are cordial, and the Realmuto camp knows what the Phils are willing to do. This is me hoping, I have no sources. Realmuto will hold out trying to get more, as is his right. I can only hope we re-sign him. In the meantime, I would still like that genuine BP arm for Christmas.

    1. If I were a free agent and had the kind of options that Realmuto is likely to have, I think I’d wait this out. I believe the COVID news is going to get better as we approach ST and this should help loosen purse strings. It wouldn’t surprise me if he signs the first or second week of March, but also wouldn’t be surprised by an earlier signing either.

      1. Exactly…..waiting a little longer may help Realmuto’s case IMO….well it shouldn’t hurt it in any way.
        And if MLB decides to delay the season until May, then he could wait until early April to sign.
        OTOH, I do not think that is what Middleton and Dombro care to see. Middelton strikes me as an impetuous man when he sees what he wants, so who knows what happens along those lines.

  7. catch22ma…nah, Realmuto is not waiting till March to sign, because of his position. Catchers need to be in ST in February to work with their pitchers and begin to learn to work with them, even if he is returning to the same team. In fact, the Phillies were the last team to be involved with the signing of “the best catcher in the game’ scenario and I remember it well…it turned out disastrously and the main reason cited by all involved [player, team, organization] was that said catcher waited till March to sign.

    I am speaking of 1987 and the Lance Parrish Affair. For those too young to recall, the ’86 Phillies had finished the year strong [even swept the Met at the Vet to keep them from clinching on Phillie turf] and were lead by reigning MVP Mike Schmidt and young stars like Von Hayes, Juan Samuel and Glen Wilson. They also featured a strong 4 man rotation of Shane Rawley, Bruce Ruffin, Don Carmen and Kevin Gross. This was a team that looked like they were one player from being potential playoff contestants…a talented catcher.

    Up steps Parrish, stage left. He was a stalwart All-Star catcher, the best in the game and seemingly at the top of his game as he became a free agent, formerly with the Detroit Tigers. Parrish also happened to be the best friend of Wilson, was friends with Schmidt, and it was a not so subtle secret that A] he wanted the Phillies and B] the Phillies wanted him.

    But ’87 was the year of collusion and ownership was loathe to pay top salary for said free agents like Parrish and Bill Giles was fully on board with this. Spring training started in February, Paul Hagen [who then covered the Phillies] wrote daily updates on Parrish and finally in mid March he signed, to much fanfare.

    Parrish said all the right things about learning the pitchers quickly, blah, blah blah, but when the season started, the Phils opened 1-8, Parrish was terrible [he really never got better!] and in all my years as a phan I rate 1987 as one of the only Phillie teams I truly couldn’t stand, and Parrish’s inability to connect with the Phillie staff was one of the reasons.

    To his credit, he openly admitted that his lack of ST with the pitching staff was a mistake and the Phillies said the same thing. Realmuto seems like a very intelligent guy and even if he has caught Nola, Wheeler and Eflin before, he has to know that with DD aboard this Phillies staff is going to look VERY different this year, especially with a new pitching coach. It behooves JT to be in Clearwater in February IF he re-signs with the Phillies OR somewhere else in Florida IF he signs with another team.

    I am unsure of what he will do but am quite sure of when he will do it…it will be in time for ST.

    1. I was at one of those games at the Vet in 1986 when the Mets only needed a win to clinch it. The Mets were the best team in baseball that year, but the Phils were the hottest team in the 2nd half. They were exciting to watch and had great promising going into 1987.

      What I remember of that game against the Mets was there was half Mets fans and half Phils fans. I was in the upper deck and someone held up a banner – I don’t remember if it was pro-Mets or pro-Phillies, but someone behind them ripped it in half. After that all Upper Deck Veterans Stadium Hell broke loose and it was on. It seemed like the whole section was fighting as I watched this unfold before me. Before long they stopped the game until security and the police could get it under control – maybe about 5 minutes.

      I was surprised they didn’t start throwing each other off the balcony and that it didn’t appear anyone was arrested. Classic Veterans Stadium memories gotta love it!

      1. Bob D…..700 Level occupants were invited to fight nights.
        If you think it was bad that night at the baseball game…be there on Sundays or Monday nights during football season.
        Finally they had to bring in da judge….Judge Seamus McCaffery in the late 90s to sit on Eagles Court

  8. CD, With the new rumors of a Memorial Day start to the season, it may very well be March. There will be a big dispute over a shortened season. The players won’t care if there are 135 games as long as they get their full salaries, and that will be a non-starter for the Owners. I am not disagreeing with your point about a C needing to be in ST, and I remember the Parrish fiasco very well, but ST may not start until mid-March.

  9. I kind of feel like a JT signing is close.
    New report says Phillies won’t spend big if it’s not on JT. Originally reports said they won’t spend at all. Interesting

  10. OK, I have a new favorite prospect. I just read a Jim Salisbury article on Albertus Barber IV, and with all the negative stuff going on, I just have to root for this kid. Good story, and a kid who will work his butt off. I hope he has a great MiL season, and someday makes the Show.

    1. We all love watching the minors and going to minor league games but, really, how many prospects does a team generally have that have a legit chance of making the majors? 30? 40? Perhaps 50 at the most. You really don’t need more than 4 teams to accommodate all of those players, although you do need a AAA team with taxi squad guys. Still, 100-120 players in your system should be more than enough.

      1. Yes….I can remember when the June draft had 60/70+ rounds….thousands of drafted kids every year. Talk about saturation into a farm system.
        Probably best the way they have it now…20 rounds and the international signings….which will give a team anywhere from 40 to 50 or so new kids coming into their systems each year.

        1. This is nothing new. In 1970, the NFL draft had 17 rounds. As of 1980, the NBA draft had 10 rounds. I am still a little surprised the NFL draft isn’t longer, but they wanted to keep costs down and I think time has shown there is absolutely no need for an NBA draft longer than 2 rounds, as surprising as that has proven to be.

          If you think about it, after 20 rounds, there are such slim pickings in the MLB draft. Let those other players and teams find each other.

            1. Oh sure, there are outliers, but the reasons for having a much shorter draft abound and now that guy can become a great undrafted free agent find!

          1. The one thing I’m surprised teams don’t care more about with regards to the draft is negotiating rights. It doesn’t matter much now, but we’re getting close to the point where that’s the most valuable part of the draft pick. Think about how many late round picks have made the majors. Now imagine if they had been able to sign with any team they want. I imagine a team like the Yankees would be inundated with diamonds in the rough just because they spend and they have the brand value that so many kids want to be a part of.

            Granted, I’d be fine with that. I wish these kids had the chance to reap the benefits of a free market instead of being forced into indentured servitude by billion dollar companies. But it is interesting to consider.

            1. Dan K… point of this re-organization, as stressed in the article, of the minor league system….all MLB teams will have the same number of minor league affiliate’s. The Yankees for instance had a couple of teams in the GCL rookie league and also another in the App rookie league…..and there were 6/7 other teams also that did that…but most of them only had the one GCL team. All MLB teams will have the same number of minor league teams.

              The Yankees can go ahead and sign a larger number of minor leaguers…..but they will need playing time somewhere to develop …for the most part the majority will eventually filter out or go to other teams..

          2. Most of these shorter drafts were not shortened to save money. They were shortened under the realization that the marginal prospects at the end of the draft had a better chance if they could pick the organization that was the best fit or gave them the best chance.

            More teams also is a factor if the talent is not deeper. There is really nothing involved with a shorter draft that would prevent MLB teams from signing as many players as in the past. The only thing that would stop it is internal organizational roster limits (180 this year, maybe 150 in the future for non-international prospects). That is what saves money for teams, not fewer draft rounds.

  11. :White Sox not wasting any time in the international market:
    “…The younger brother of slugger Yoenis Cespedes is set to land in the Windy City.’s Jesse Sanchez reports that Yoelqui Cespedes, MLB Pipeline’s top-ranked international prospect, is expected to sign with the ChiSox for a bonus near $2M Cespedes, 23, is considered a five-tool player and defected from the Cuban national team in 2019. The younger Cespedes will join a White Sox roster already deep with Cuban talent including , Luis Robert, Yoan Moncada and 2020 AL Most Valuable Player .Jose Abreu. Sanchez notes that RHP Norge Vera, the No. 20 prospect on MLB Pipeline, is also expected to join the White Sox”

    Wonder who the Phillies will also target other than No. 8 on the MLB Pipeline catcher Riccardo Perez from the Ven.

    1. I think it is a good move.
      Knows all the Phillies in the system.
      Players really like him from what i have seen and read… able to bridge the gap between the analytical side of data presented to the players, to the practical side with the them

      1. Seems like a good move.

        Now it’s time to make the product on the field better

        Right now it’s a 4th place team

      1. And I was commenting on it as if it were a hypothetical – apparently, it’s a done deal. This makes me very happy. This shows that DD was brought in to overhaul the organization for the long run, not just do a scorched earth WS run, and to groom a new GM to take over. This is excellent news as far as I can tell. Really super. I’m pumped!

        1. Few Wiki articles are as interesting or enlightening as this one about Sam Fuld. He has been a GM in training since about the age of 5 and has been actively working on the management/analytics side even when he was a Cubs prospect.

          I really like this hire.

          1. He’s a damned good choice as an apprentice and I don’t think we’ll be getting any head-exploding “I don’t care about on base percentage, I care about production” comments from him anytime soon.

  12. No player eval or player dev experience. No GM experience. No FO experience. Analytics guy. Hmmm

    1. Yeah, but he’s a former player and is supposedly smart as heck. Trust me, with DD around, unlike MacPhail, there will be constant adult supervision and he will do nothing of consequence without DD’s express approval. I really like that move.

  13. Was one of 2 finalists for the Bosox manager job. Highly respected and regarded as one of the young turks and was widely sought by other organizations for a number of jobs. Apparently he has analytical skills and also very good interpersonal skills as the players respected him and accepted information from him If the team did nothing more for him in a job capacity they certainly would have lost him to a progressive team like Tampa – and then we could all complain that the Phillies had him and let him go. He is a future solid exec. and teamed with DD it is a great “hire.” Sort of “an old look/new look.”

  14. Would another team hire him as a GM? Maybe it works out, absolutely no track record in the FO. The Red Sox interviewed him for the position, didn’t hire him. Just looks like a big reach, unless DD is really the GM, and then I get it.

  15. I don’t think Fuld will have a lot of clout in decision making process. Fuld will probably do all the GM leg work including research and analysis that Dumbro will need to make an informed decision. If Dumbro wants to be the baseball decision maker, Fuld is a good fit for that supporting role.

    1. Think of it as a 4 year internship for Fuld. I love the move. Fuld is another smart ex player from Stanford who has lots of experience with analytics.

      1. Promoting Velandia to AGM is also a great move with all the Latin kids they sign from Venezuela. First DD is fixing the house and then he’ll fix the field product. I think they like the draft work Barber did plus the driveline guys seem to be successful but it’s still early.
        Read the article on Albertus Barber. Quite the story plus he’s got a great arm with a chance to move quickly since he’s older.

  16. Now wonder what happens here?
    …Interim GM -Ned Rice
    …Asst GM -Bryan Minniti
    …Asst GM -Scott Proefrock

    …..assume Scott Proefrock becomes a consultant of some sort at age 61 in the org….Ned Rice goes back to his former position….but what about Bryan Minniti now that Jorge Verlandia has been promoted from Special Asst to the Asst GM

    1. To me, these guys are kind of all afterthoughts. If Sam Fuld or Terry Ryan (he’s staying on, which is good) think they are important or essential, maybe they stay on. But they are really down low in the pecking order even if they do.

    2. I believe Velandia will be in a position here to establish himself as a viable higher exec under credible guys like DD and Sam I Am.

  17. Count me as a fan of the Fuld hire. Even though DD will call the big shots for a couple years, I can see Fuld as his apprentice with an already impressive profile as a young fresh pair of eyes to evaluate and build a better farm. The new POBO will pretty much oversee the major league roster while the new GM works the wire for young talent. I’m also glad Middleton didn’t mandate another Yankee hire. Glad tidings, indeed!

  18. Two interesting tidbits of info:
    1. DD didn’t interview anyone from outside of organization for GM job.
    2. Realmutos agent reached out to DD to welcome him to come Philly…

  19. A+ for the Sam Fuld promotion.
    It’s a win-win for both sides. Fuld gets to work for, and learn under a HOF exec. The Phillies add a voice fluent in analytics to balance a new FO that will now slant towards old fashioned scouting. The team would have lost Fuld in the not too distant future to another club as a manager or AGM.
    Also happy with the Jorge Velandia promo. He’s another guy who understands analytics. I know he was highly respected in the organization. He was even a finalist for the manager job that eventually went to Gabe Kapler.

    I give DD mad props for his willingness to pass on some men who have worked with him in the past (though I think he could still bring in Frank Wren as an advisor) in favor of two guys who are new to him. And best of luck to Matt Klentak (a nice guy who lacked the aggressiveness to compete with the top GM’s around the league) in whatever job he lands going forward.

    1. @hinkie – well said and I agree. The current structure is where the analytics infrastructure can be put in effective display – now the FO appears to have a good balance of old school eye test and new school of use of analytics tools. This will be a win for everybody involve and hopefully will result to a sustainable talent infusion and some WS trophies.

  20. Business is business, but I predict a JTR signing sitting under our tree on Christmas morning. Gut feeling alone, but the man may want this settled entering the new year. And the Phillies may also want to begin 2021 promotions using Realmuto’s image and name. Things happen abruptly at One Citizens Way. Nobody saw DD hiring, or Fuld for that matter. Now the triumvirate. Make it so…

  21. I find it amazing all the love being shown to Sam Fuld. As I stated earlier, no experience what so ever as a GM, nothing on the financial side working contracts. No development experience within the farm system, not an assistant GM, or anything on the front office/management side. So let’s groom somebody by handing them a GM position with a major league team. Good place to start I guess. Sam was never even thought of as a possible candidate for the job by anyone we knew of. Great job.

    1. snake………Dombro stills makes all the final decisions as he says. Also , since he will be 65 next summer, do not see him being here for over a decade as he was in Detroit.
      So from what I gather he is mentoring/tutoring the likes of Sam Fuld and Jorge Velandia to succeed him at some point…I say in maybe 4/5 years.

      1. Agree…….this is a 4 year gig. Get the house in order, put the pups in place for the future and call it a career or become a part owner or consultant.

    2. He’s a GM in title only. In reality he’s an asst GM in the sense that his boss is making all the decisions. He’s a great choice as a young smart guy who will be exposed to 4 years, at least, of DD training him. We sure would have been unhappy if he left us to do the same thing with another team.

  22. I think Murray is correct. Dombrowski is the GM in terms of making trades and signings, and setting the course for the team. Fuld and Velandia are learning under him and will field most of the calls, and get the legwork done. I think it is good to have a smart guy like Fuld, learn the “old school” ways as well as be proficient in the analytics world. To me, Klentak was less than successful not because he isn’t smart, but because of 3 root factors. He was not a good evaluator of talent, and did not surround himself with those who are, He was too reliant on analytics to make decisions, and he was risk averse. Ned Rice as the interim GM was strictly there to do paperwork. Get tenders out, and letters of non-tender. He was not there to make a single decision regarding personnel.

    1. Matt, I agree with much of your analysis. Klentak, in the abstract is smart, perhaps he’s even very smart. However, he showed no particular ability to judge talent (in fact, you could say he was quite bad at it), especially under-the-radar talent. I also agree that he did not surround himself with the right people, but I give an assist on that to Andy MacPhail who was a hands-off President who, to me, did almost nothing to advance the ball in the organization and be the heavy on the more nuanced and difficult moves that it’s difficult for a new and inexperienced GM to make, such as getting rid of Johnny A, whose draft philosophy (control pitchers, hit-tool-only hitters) I dislike and, arguably, have almost no place in the modern game.

      I don’t agree that he was too risk averse, in fact, the risks he took seemed to backfire, when he was pushed to make them in 2019. Rather, I think the much bigger problem was his lack of creativity and ability to think outside the box. All of his moves and thoughts seemed to be very narrow and conventional, which was not what this team, or any team looking to get “value at the margins”, needs to succeed.

    2. @matt – i think you hit the nail on Klentak and Rice – we always see the same thing with Klentak. Klentak lack of eye in finding talent is his achilles heel and he thought that talking analytics can mask that deficiency. Analytics is a very helpful tool but it should be use as an aid and not an end all be all basis for decision making. This is where someone like DD can make an improvement. DD relies on his eye to find talent but he also acknowledge the importance of modern day analytics, thus, decided to surround himself with assistants armed with modern day techniques to compliment his decision making.

      DD is not my preference for the position but at least the Phillies are building a team that can tie the pieces together. I remember reading some articles that Klentak tend to isolate certain people and Klentak’s inner circle is limited to few.

    1. Thanks for posting the link, v1. I’m going to link it again in the draft thread.
      Spoiler alert: I love Jaden Hill (down to #14 on that list) at 1-13 for the Phillies.

    2. v1, you have not posted in a while, and I was a bit worried about you. All good? Happy Holidays! Thanks for the list. I, also, will enjoy the breakdown from Hinkie.

  23. Doesn’t that prove the point, Romus? I have seen zero improvement in that area. Unless you are counting on Neftali Feliz. Rice was/is a contract guy, not a talent evaluator and I know nothing about Minniti.

    1. matt13…….who knows if they were working BP arms these past 2/3 years….right now they are laying the negotiation foundations for the arms.
      I mean… you mean relief arms that have signed as of today?
      Trevor May…..and who else.
      The biggies are still on the market and probably will be for another 5/6 weeks, especially if spring training is pushed back to April..

  24. Now, I’m not about to call Dave Dombrowski a liar. He said that he and Jeff Berry (JTR’s agent) merely had an informal conversation, well wishes and pleasant exchanges about each other’s family, but why in the world would a MLB POBO and the rep of baseball’s best catcher just chat over the phone (or Zoom?) with no mention of the elephant in the ballpark other than “hey, we’d love to have him back”….unless negotiations had already taken place, and resuming now under DD’s watch. C’mon, people.

  25. mark8:29…I don’t think anyone thought DD was lying, I mean what is he supposed to say? And he wouldn’t have said anything about the conversation but for the fact Salisbury asked him about Realmuto and DD is notorious for being a straight shooter.

    In fact, two things happened today that would seem to indicate that the chances of a reunion look better by the day. One, Grullon went on waivers and the Phils didn’t claim him. If they truly felt things were hopeless with JT they would have claimed a guy who is at least familiar with the system, organization and pitching staff and who has had at least a modicum of success with the team. That they let him pass spoke volumes to me.

    And two, the Astros are deep in negotiations with free agent catcher Jason Castro and are said to want to platoon him with Marty Maldonado behind the plate. Houston was said to be one of the potential suitors for Realmuto and if/when Castro signs that should eliminate them.

    That leaves Toronto and possibly the Angels still in the game and while anything can still happen, my guess is that the hiring of Dombrowski changed EVERYTHING Phillie related. They went from a team that seemed rudderless and poor to a team that not only now has direction but brought in a guy that seems to win wherever he goes and does it an a very authoritative manner. Now he has added Fuld to the equation and made Ryan an important part of the inner circle, a very impressive move especially given the face he was rumored to be retiring.

    Don’t think for a moment agent Jeff Berry and client JT Realmuto didn’t take notice, we all know they did! Just like Scott Boras did last week when he commented that Dombrowski seems to “hopscotch from one World Series to a next” regardless of the team he leads.

    Look, anything can still happen, and a contract is not signed till the ink is dry, I get that. I also believe what Jim was suggesting several weeks ago when he said that Realmuto and the Phillies were almost at a point of no return, I felt the same way based on everything I was reading. But Dombrowski changes everything and it sure looks a lot better than it did a few weeks ago when the Phils looked for all the world like they were simply going to punt on the 2021 season.

    That all changed the day DD came on board!

    1. I don’t disagree, CalDream. I was merely making a point that there had to have been more to their conversation than the innocuous ‘hey, how are you?’ Nonetheless, good to read your thoughts.

  26. I like to wish everyone, A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, lets hope this year will bring a end to this virus and get us back to a normal life, God Bless

  27. Holiday wishes to all and a big thank you — to Jim – for making this such a great space to vent, discuss, debate, argue, and laugh ! Be well and safe !!

  28. Happy holidays to all who contribute to and read this site and especially to grand master Jim for making it all happen!

    We may not agree on everything, but we agree that we all love the Phillies.

    Thanks to all for keeping baseball fun and alive, while the minor leagues never played, the major leaguers played only a little and the world was crazy, difficult, and sometimes a dark place.

    This blog and you all brought some light to my life this year, so thank you again!

    1. matt13….Kahnle will not pitch in 2021….TJ recovery.
      We already have one relief arm under that category…Seranthony.
      Can they afford to carry two arms that will not be productive in 2021, under those circumstances?

      1. Thanks Romus, I should have known that! No, I do not want another injured guy. Now that I read the report, he gets $750K for this season, then $3.5M in 2022, so s deal for the future. Good for the Dodgers, but I want some good arms for this year, and you are correct, SerAnthony already fits the injured list quota.

    1. Yes a very good read,
      ….hopefully it transforms Mickey Moniak into the hitter we all expected from him when drafted.
      If so, it will surely be a plus for the team and his own future.

  29. A joy filled Christmas to all here! And an awe filled 2021 as we hope for the phuture. Thanks again to Jim for his tireless (and sometimes perilous😖) efforts in keeping the pharm phires burning on the west coast of Florida.

    My confidence meter, on a scale of 1-10, went from a 2 a month ago to a 7.5 today. While I scratch my head at the way Middleton and his minions (and his millions) get to the eventually sound decision, wisdom prevails. Since there is no full proof way of sustaining success for a decade plus, at least they are pointed in the right direction. Play ball!

  30. Nationals improve as they traded for Josh Bell. Mets, nationals, and Braves have all improved while Phillies sit around and do nothing.

    Well besides upgrade their FO which doesn’t help add wins unless they do something

    1. Fortunately it’s only December 24. Dombrowski was hired 2 weeks ago, Fuld was just named GM 2 days ago. Big doings coming up. Josh Bell won’t move the needle for a Nats team in much need in several areas. Turner and Soto and two aging aces with lingering health questions. Personally, I think Washington is on the downturn despite their willingness to spend. Their payroll deferrals are about to bite them. The Mets have talent, but they’re still the Mets until proven otherwise. The Braves stand head and shoulders above the rest of the division from front office through the minor league ranks, with Miami surging to either 2nd or 3rd in the NL East.

      1. As currently constructed, I see the division shake out in 2021 (based on 162 games)…
        1 Atlanta 92-95 wins
        2 Miami 86-90 wins
        3 Philadelphia 82-86 wins (with the DD factor, anticipate adding a legit closer which will stabilize the back end of the pen)
        4 New York 80-85 wins
        5 Washington 75-80 wins

        1. I think it’s going to unfold like this

          Atlanta – 92-96 wins – class of the division . . . again.
          NY – 85-92 wins – probably get a WC
          Phillies – 81-88 wins – outside chance at a WC
          Washington – 78-83 wins – age finally catches up to them
          Miami – 74-79 wins – they really aren’t very good.

            1. This team has excellent young hitting and probably the best pitcher in baseball. Add some key free agents – which they have and will – and I think you’re looking at very competitive team, especially if Thor comes back mid-season.

  31. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all.

    Thanks to everyone who posts here. An intelligent, informed, articulate bunch. My home for learning about the Phillies. Jim, just plain thanks.

  32. As we reach the midpoint of the offseason, it might be a good time to take a look at what the Phillies have accomplished, and what they still need to get done.

    Accomplished … other than picking a utility infielder (Kyle Holder), the club hasn’t really added any players of note. However, John Middleton finally settled the FO when he hired Dave Dombrowski as POBO. Dombrowski then promoted Sam Fuld to GM and Jorge Velandia to AGM. Gotta be happy with Dombrowski. The guy is no joke. He wins everywhere he works. Loved the way he handled his introductory press conference. It will be up to Dombro to fill out the roster going forward.

    What DD needs to do … IMO it’s just a matter of time before they re-sign JTR (probably backloaded 5/120M). I think bringing back Didi is pretty important (though I’m getting the sense that’s not going to happen). The BP obviously needs work. But the one thing that isn’t talked about much is the Phillies need to add depth to their starting rotation. Spencer Howard is an exciting prospect, but he’s only thrown more than 100 innings once (112 IP) as a pro or amateur. I think Vince Velasquez may surprise in 2021 under a new pitching coach (Caleb Cotham) and throwing in a walk year, but that’s definitely not a sure thing. Also, some teams are going to use six man rotations to protect pitchers against injuries after not throwing many innings in 2020. I think Dombrowski will wait out the market and find a FA SP on a reasonable short term deal. James Paxton or Carlos Rodon are the two options IMO. Any of Adonis Medina, Ramon Rosso, or Ranger Saurez could be used as spot starters. Bottom line is this (and I’m sure DD will address it): the Phillies need to add depth to both their rotation and BP.

    1. Hinkie….good analysis.
      Probably need to incorporate one of Dombro’s strongest skill sets…
      For more than likely he will make a move…has been a stable of his MO.
      Many writers have so far been reluctant to delved into who he may move to strengthen the team. IMO….Vinny and Scott Kingery could be on the trading blocks from the 26…….and from the farm system or rest of the 40, could be any of the prospects if so be.

  33. The problem is, Romus, what value do Vinny and Kingery have? I can’t see either one bringing much back, and keeping them doesn’t lessen their trade value from what it is now. I think we have to try to improve defensively, and if we re-sign Realmuto, which is far from a given, a Galvis at SS may be possible for his glove. There will be BP arms left in ST, but I would still like one of the better ones, Hand, Hendriks, Rosenthal. We are hoping that Dombrowski can make some moves, but we have seen nothing yet to indicate what budget he has to work with.

  34. Just as an FYI and to get some conversation going again, post Christmas, they are pretty confident in Toronto that they are going to sign JT. Their plan is to sign him and then trade 12 of their talented catcher prospects for assets. Thoughts?

  35. CD, I knew you didn’t mean 12, and Toronto has Indian it wants to add talent and will spend to do so. Realmuto is the best C in the league, and it isn’t close. We have no idea if there is an offer on the table from us to him, but we do know that if there is, he certainly hasn’t accepted it. I have had little to no confidence that we re-sign him. So, my thoughts are, notwithstanding hiring DD, I expect us to be at the bottom of the Division this season. Not happy, but hoping Middleton sees his way to want to try to compete in 2022.

  36. After being in Miami then Philly I can definitely see JT in Canada. He is from Midwest and might not mind a slower pace to reside.

  37. Recent articles by national writers have JTR being a good fit for Toronto – because they have a war chest of $$ and they are bound and determined to get one of the top free agents. I still think it is posturing – maybe planted by JT’s agent – maybe by writers who have little else to do. I would think Jays have to offer a whole lot of $$ to compete against the Phillies offer (also for tax purposes -much higher northward) which I think has been on the table. My guess is – agent is trying to stretch this out as long as possible/ so Phillies have to bid against themselves – this will go on until somebody flinches – I really don’t see many places for JT to go as the article on MLB Trade rumors seems to point out. I simply don’t think there are more than a few teams who want to spend much $$ – Yes, he can definitely go to another team, but that may be the only other bid he gets other than the Phillies. Grin and bear it. Either way, if the team doesn’t spend a king’s ransom on him – they have a big bank account to fix everything else. I too – will be relieved if they sign him, but this is the process.

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