Open Discussion: Week of January 23, 2022

Day 54 of Mister Manfred’s lockout.  The two sides will meet Monday with the Players Association expected to respond to the owners’ recent opening salvo. 

Sometime Monday, hopefully after the meeting, MLB will unleash their MLB Insiders with the owners’ version of the meeting and well, everything.  You know who they are and have seen them at work.  One recent post stated that earlier free agency will destroy baseball.  BS.

I recommend you follow –

  • ESPN’s Jeff Passan is the writer who appears to be privy to the discussions and has been very fair with his writing.  His account of the meeting will not be the first out.  He gets the story right at the expense of being first.
  • Evan Drehlich of the Athletic has been providing excellent insight into the standoff.
  • On Twitter, Eugene Freedman is a labor lawyer who provides excellent explanations of labor law and how it applies to baseball.  He’s also a big Prince fan.

Just to recap, MLB offered the following at the last meeting –

  • MLB offered to revamp its system for compensating Super Two players.  (The new system is similar to what the players rejected as a replacement for arbitration.)
  • MLB offered to address service time manipulation by rewarding teams that promoted prospects from MLB’s Top 100 who won ROY or finished in the top 3 for CY Young or MVP in his first three seasons.  (The flaw here is that the lists and awards are arbitrarily voted for by baseball writers.)
  • MLB offered an international draft.
  • MLB offered to address tanking by offering a draft lottery for the three worst teams.  (The union wants a more realistic eight-team lottery.)
  • MLB continued to push for a 14-team playoff.
  • MLB proposed a universal designated hitter.

The offer did not address core economic issues like –

  • raising the minimum salary,
  • earlier arbitration,
  • earlier free agency,
  • changes to revenue sharing, and
  • a fairly large increase to the competitive balance threshold.

Hopefully, we’ll know the players’ counter-proposal sometime Monday.

The international signing period opened last Saturday.

The Phillies have a budget of $5,179,700. They have signed 19 players so far and have spent a reported $4,400,000 on seven of their guys and have $779,700 to spend on the other twelve and any additional players.  Any signings $10K and under don’t count against their bonus allotment.

Here are the 19 players they have signed so far.  I don’t post bonuses since it puts players and families in Venezuela at risk.  The six newest reports are in bold text.

  1. William Bergolla Jr., SS, Venezuela
  2. Aroon Escobar, SS, Venezuela
  3. Romel Perez, OF, Venezuela
  4. Leny Carela, SS, Dominican Republic
  5. Neifi Rosario, OF, Dominican Republic
  6. Angel Mata, C, Venezuela
  7. Eduar Chirinos, LHP, Venezuela
  8. Nolan Beltran, SS, Colombia
  9. Luis Gonzalez, RHP, Venezuela
  10. Juan Villavicencio, SS, Venezuela
  11. Kilwer Colmenares, SS, Venezuela
  12. Manolfi Jimenez, OF, Dominican Republic
  13. Andres Hernandez, SS, Venezuela
  14. Enrique Segura, RHP, Dominican Republic
  15. Nikau-Pouaka Grego, INF, Australia
  16. Lou Helmig, OF, Germany
  17. Jeffrey German, RHP, Dominican Republic
  18. John Sosa, LHP, Dominican Republic
  19. Miguelangel Rodriguez, RHP, Dominican Republic

This is the courtesy thread for comments and discussion about the Phillies and other BASEBALL topics.

Rosters and Stuff

Key Dates:

  • December 1, 2021: CBA expires
  • December 2, 2021: Manfred locks out players
  • December 15, 2021: Close of the 2020-21 international signing period
  • January 15, 2022 – Start of the 2021-22 international signing period
  • January 28,2022: Caribbean Series
  • TBA: Minor League spring training reporting date (probably mid-to-late February)
  • April 5, 2022: Lehigh Valley season opener at home v. Columbus
  • April 8, 2022:  Clearwater season opener at home v. Fort Myers
  • April 8, 2022:  Jersey Shore season opener at home v. Aberdeen
  • April 8, 2022:  Reading season opener at home v. Somerset



84 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of January 23, 2022

  1. Below is a summary of changes made to the minor leagues by the Phils current Minor league Farm Director, as written by Destiny Legardo, quoting Matt Gelb. Does anyone have opinions on the abilities of the people who are being replaced, for example Bryan Minniti (sp?) – who in my opinion did not often have the time for their work to be fully evaluated?

    According to Matt Gelb of The Athletic, the Phillies have hired Keith Werman to manage the High-A Jersey Shore BlueClaws. Werman, 32, spent the last four seasons on the San Diego Padres staff as the major league development coordinator. New Phillies farm director Preston Mattingly has made numerous minor league coaching changes this offseason. He’s hired Anthony Contreras to manage the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Kevin Bradshaw as minor-league field coordinator. Former 1992 AL Rookie of the Year Pat Listach will reportedly join Werman’s staff as Jersey Shore’s bench coach.?

    1. To learn more about Anthony Contreras, you can listen to his appearance on Kevin Frandsen’s Pine Tar For Breakfast podcast. Contreras managed Stott, O’Hoppe, Muzziotti, Jones, Crouse, and Miller in the AFL a few months ago.

  2. Understand Frandsen is leaving Phillies for Nats. I’m not too broken up; just wondering who will take his place.

      1. I voted for Cristian as well. I think I spelled it correctly in earlier votes but went with the way a few others were spelling it. Thinking we won’t lose that vote for misspelling a name.

  3. I’m more than fine (and respectful) of the way readers vote in the top 30 poll. I’ve been on an island alone the past few days backing Jordi Martinez. But a point I wanted to make for all those voting for Andrew Schultz: If you’re looking to vote for a potential closer, why Schultz over Billy Sullivan? Sullivan throws just about as hard as Schultz, and has the same type of breaking ball. They have similar K/9 in college and MiLB … however … Sullivan throws more strikes. Not saying Sullivan controls the Kzone. But I am saying Sullivan has a much better history of BB/9. Sullivan also has a SP background at Delaware, and Billy Sullivan is two years further removed from TJ than Schultz.


    This is just my opinion. Feel free to continue voting any way you like. Also, feel free to advocate for any prospect you like. I love reading your opinions.

    1. I like Billy, too. But, he was on the IL twice last season and was shut down the second time in August. He has an awkward arm angle that portends future elbow problems.

      Comparing him to Schultz, I come back with different observations. First, Schultz threw triple digits before his surgery and was back to throwing triple digits during Instructs. Second, Schultz sat upper 90s. While Sullivan can get it up to 97 and touch 98, he sits lower, like 95-96. Third, Schultz possesses a killer slider that is superior to any of Sullivan’s more secondary pitches.

      What remains to be seen is whether or not Schutz can overcome any trepidation airing it out this spring. And whether or not Sullivan’s shoulder continues to be an issue going forward.

        1. Good stuff, Jim. Thank you for the response. Like I posted above, I enjoy hearing all opinions.

          I don’t know much about Alex Carr, but I will say he’s not the only person with positive reports on Sullivan. Here’s a little bit from BA’s Josh Norris in a story from last year titled “MLB Pitching Prospects Who Could Touch 100 MPH In 2021”:

          Billy Sullivan and Mick Abel, RHPs
          Top Velocity: 99

          “Abel, the team’s first-rounder in 2020, is not surprising to see at the top of instructional league leaderboards. He’s got a big fastball and nasty offspeeds to back it up. Sullivan is a bit less-heralded, having been drafted by the Phillies in 2017 but choosing instead to go to school at Delaware. He was signed by the club this past summer as a non-drafted free agent and got his feet wet at instructional league, where he averaged 96 mph on his fastball and backed it up with a short-breaking slider.”

          Anyway … here’s hoping Schultz and Sullivan both stay healthy, and reach their ceilings.

          1. For what it’s worth, Billy Sullivan’s Dad, who sometimes works in my office (and who gave me a Billy Sullivan signed ball that I display prominently there) said Billy generally throws in the 95-97 MPH range – or at least that’s what I recall him telling me. He also told me that Billy was really feeling okay this summer and a lot of the downtime was just the team being extra careful with him.

            1. Sure – I also recall that his Dad also told me that Billy’s best breaking pitch is a curve ball, but that the team really wanted him to de-emphasize that (perhaps to just have him focus only on two pitches). Perhaps we will see him throw the curve this year.

            2. He was a Freshman All-American as a SP at Delaware so he’s got the full arsenal. He throws a pretty good looking CH at the 0:24 mark of the video I posted above.

            3. Yeah, the Phillies were quick to shut down a lot of guys last season.

              The Phillies do de-emphasize the curve with a lot of young pitchers because of the strain they believe it puts on the elbow.

  4. Looks like the MLBPA per Drehlich gave up on earlier free agency for players to the owners…I hope they stick to a higher minimum salary in that $800-$850K range..I’m disappointed the union allowed the owners to plant a “We Will Not Negotiate” sign in the ground over the earlier free agency issue and did not push back.. If the owners keep this up the MLBPA should tell them we will get back to you around St. Patricks Day.. The first side to lose money in this stand off is the owners and not the players.. Small market teams love the spring training game, radio and T.V rights revenue that comes into their coffers..

    1. Saw these findings MLBPA put out:
      —MLB revenues… from $8.2B-2015 to over $10.7B- 2019, a 30 percent increase

      —Player salaries-decreased by 6.4 percent, with the average salary declining from $4.45M to $4.17M during the span of the current CBA…five years

      —Median salary fell from $1.65M -2015 to $ 1.15M – 2021, a decline of 30 percent.

      —54% of players in MLB not yet eligible for arbitration, earning the minimum salary.

      —13 teams had payrolls under $100M in 2021 Five teams spent lss than $50M.

      —Three teams spent less than $17M on their 26 man major league payroll

      —MLBPA filed a grievance against the A’s, the Pirates, the Marlins, and Rays over how they have invested their revenue-sharing dollars in recent years. The CBA requires “each Club shall use its revenue sharing receipts … in an effort to improve its performance on the field.”

      1. Maybe the players need to throw out the following proposal.

        Since teams spending above the cap are being taxed then any team spending under $100 million on payroll is not eligible for revenue-sharing dollars with the additional loss of draft order/international $$, etc. the further below $100 million they go.

        Player salaries are dropping not because of the upper end isn’t getting paid but because teams are using pre-arbitration players rather than FA eligible veterans to fill out the rosters.

        1. I like that ide….I think a financial/salary ‘floor’ was proposed in the past.
          Cannot recall what happened.
          The MLBPA would approve,
          …the 15 large market owners would approve,
          …the 15 small marker owners…nay probably
          Now those 15 small markets get the Round A or B Comp Balance picks after the first round (A) or second round (B)…….take that selection slot from them if they do not meet the minimum salary expenditure.

        2. Most players when they hit FA are entering it at age 28-30. And then you add to it that declining in your 30s is inevitable, it’s just a matter of when it happens. So in that case, it makes some sense to favor pre-arbitration players, especially those FA players who are barely starter level.

          It’s interesting how in football, going younger is taken as a good thing and nobody really complains about it. But in baseball when it happens, it’s all about collusion and owners sticking it to players.

          1. Good observation about NFL going young is a good thing. NFL teams have a salary cap and have to move players making a lot of money. Can you imagine the uproar if baseball was that way.

      2. Romus, if these figures are accurate no wonder the players are in active revolt. Obviously, with MLB revenues growing, payrolls need to grow as well. But a lot of these numbers show the growing revenue disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots” – those numbers aren’t just about teams being cheap.

        1. catch,,,,this is what MLBPA put out….not sure how accurate they are.
          The owner will have their own set I am sure ….to counter..
          If the owners had some cunning…..substantially raise the min salary…64% of the players would love it…the superstar $$$$ guys like Trout, Harper, Macado, et al will be in agreement….so now you are looking at almost 60% of the rank and file.

          Now what is a substantial raise …how about starting at 25% more…and one percent increase each year over the life of this CBA ….that would make it 30% by 2026.

  5. Well, both sides are meeting for a second day in a row. I hope they don’t find that too taxing! I have a feeling there will be one more breakdown in talks before there is finally a new CBA. There are enough issues that they are too far apart on. In the meantime, there is nothing being done about making the game better.

    1. I didn’t expect them to have any substantive discussions before the end of January, so this is really good news and the fact that the PA is moving on some issues is also really good news. Apparently, the PA has lowered its demand on revenue sharing significantly (from $100 m for certain teams to $30m – which is a large shift) has asked for a draft lottery of the bottom 8 teams (not unreasonable), and has dropped the minimum age FA demand. Again, it was way more progress than I expected to see at this time. Hopeful they can wrap this up by the first week in March, so the regular season can still start on time. Of course, I would love to see them settle even sooner.

  6. Nothing earth shaking here but Jim Bowden tweeted minutes ago that the Phillies, Giants and Mariners are interested in Kris Bryant. So SFG may be just trying to push KB’s market higher. Could be a bidding war between us and Seattle. The Phillies should have an advantage, all things being equal.

    1. mark…conspicuous by his silence, Bryce Harper probably already knows his bud Bryant, agent Boros and Middleton and Dombrowski probably had something going on and moving forward, in that short period before the lights went out for baseball.
      They just never got around to rushing and finalizing anything….in typical Boros fashion
      If it were to happen…I sure hope that is a reasonable AAV,,,JTR range…you know it will be at least 5 years and some sort of a 6th year option.

    2. That’s too bad. I am very concerned about the steady erosion in Bryant’s performance. However, one thing Bryant does give the Phillies is, most likely, good to excellent production in the short term and tremendous positional flexibility for their needs; far better on the flexibility issue than any other player on the open market. I just hope the contract isn’t too long, although I fear it might be.

    1. There is no strike. The owners preempted the players by beginning the lockout to force the issue. The players are barred from their teams so, for all intents and purposes, it’s the same as a strike. There will be no player participation until there is a new CBA – just as would happen with a strike.

      1. I mean, technically, the owners could end the lockout without a CBA at any time, but if they did so, the players would just go on strike, so the CBA is what ends the labor/management stoppage here and everyone knows that.

  7. Lots of coverage on JRoll and the Piece for HOF honors tonight…

    Howard was an absolute beast for a few brief years but didn’t sustain the length to be a legitimate candidate IMO.

    Rollins SHOULD have been a shoe-in if only he stopped trying to be Mickey Mantle, laid down a more than occasional bunt to easily raise his average 20 points. Too many meh seasons, although his career numbers stack up well against SS’s already inducted. I think he gets close but no cigar, or maybe in a few years time.

      1. Romus – Jason Stark had a terrific article about J-roll and his merits pro-con for the HOF about 2 weeks ago in The Athletic. His numbers in some cases are quite startling – one of only 4- i believe with number of HR and SB. For his position some of his stats are incomparable. However, his counting stats are mediocre and as you point out some of his currently fashionable metrics won’t appeal to today’s voters. That said – he was the leader of those great Phillies teams, won numerous personal awards, and achieved all time hits leadership among other distinctions for one of the oldest NL franchises. We know he was not the best player on the team (Utley was) but he was the most visible. I am just happy to see he will continue to be voted upon but I am certain it will be 20 years from now that some Old Timers group will put him in the HOF. Not that it is noteworthy – but he was arguably better than only 3 other shortstops currently in the HOF. Just proving that they have put alot of others in for their “apparent” value.

        1. RU…..I , like you, feel at some point way down the road he will eventually get in. And as time goes on the newer voters will be more analytically inclined, that seems to be the trending position going forward.

          What bothers me is that Curt Schilling does not go in because he exercises his First Amendment right and it is held against him….understand Bonds, Clemens and Sosa since they benefited from chemicals,….and even Ortiz in 2004 was a subject of a PED investigation. Schilling for all intent and purposes is deserving of a selection.
          I find it incredulous that the younger writers hold a personal vendetta to him and decide to punish him for something they disagree with him on politically or socially.
          The true American spirit as it stands nowadays I suppose.
          IMO, it is a travesty….so I will waste no time on HoF ceremonies or events……same as many other past specials events like the Oscars, Grammys et al.

          1. RU & Romus, well said. HOF should be based upon what is on the field. JRoll will likely increase in voting thru the years. Abreu is grossly under appreciated. IMO he was one of the best. Lets see what happens next year with several off the ballot now

            1. I like Jimmy Rollins the guy and the player, but to me, he was never quite a HOFer. Had his sensational peak been longer, then maybe, but he clearly falls short in my view. I think too many of us are far too Philly centric with him. If you were in another city you probably would dismiss his candidacy out of hand.

            2. By comparison Utley will and should get in. His 5 year peak is among the few best at second base. I’m confident that he will be voted in before his 10 year period elapses.

            3. The debate when Utley is eligible, and specifically concerning second basemen, will involve him, compared to Jeff Kent … along with Kent falling short.
              Guys on MLB Network argue this point every year…Brian Kenny and Chris Russo.

              Utley in one 10 year stretch averaged almost 6WAR a year
              Kent in one 9 year stretch averaged almost 5WAR a year.
              IMO, Utley does get in.


    1. Ryan Howard had 2 big things against him: his poor defense and the shift. He has a career -17.3 dWar. That is crazy.

  8. Ortiz is the only one elected to HoF, 77.9% of the vote. I haven’t seen the other percentages.

  9. To me the HOF voting is broken. The ‘character clause’ has been contorted to apply to players who you disagree with politically (Schilling) and allow some PED guys in like Ortiz but not Bonds and Clemens. The MLB HOF needs fixing before it becomes irrelevant.

    1. Whenever you allow voting by the writers, you’re going to get some bias because it’s hard to be totally impartial. Writers hold grudges. Bonds and Clemens were linked heavily with PEDs and they were surly with the media. Schilling’s “outbursts” after his career was over really did him no favours and made him look like a villain. Ortiz was linked to PEDs briefly but it has been deemed not conclusive later. And Ortiz is very generous with the media so that helps a lot.

      1. Guru, I don’t disagree with your points it’s just unfair that a parameter to get in the HOF is how nice you are to the sports media and your politics. No one can argue on the merits that Schilling isn’t a HOF’er who was never tainted by PED’s. So that leaves the ‘character clause’ which I’m pretty sure when it was added as a metric for the HOF, one’s politics wasn’t what it was supposed to screen out.. My understanding it was for criminal activity or ‘behavior abhorrent in normal society.’

        MLB could have used a positive this week and although I’m happy for Ortiz overall this HOF vote was a downer..

    1. Did not realize…Schilling was involved in THREE lopsided trades in his career….and prior to ’92 when the Phillies got him….. Sox, Os, and Astros all gave up on him.

      1. While there certainly is room for subjectivity when it comes to voting for the Hall of Fame, the fact that Schilling wasn’t selected within his first 5 years of eligibility is an utter indictment of the credibility (or lack thereof) of many national writers. Any hack can run a popularity contest.

        1. Schillings career WAR is 80.5. That’s just behind Bob Gibson and just ahead of Tom Glavine and Carl Hubbell. All three are generally considered upper tier Hall of Famers.

          Like Gibson, Schilling boasts an unbelievable post-season record. He went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP in 19 starts and 133.3 career playoff innings. Schilling won three World Series rings, was named MVP of the 1993 NLCS, and co-MVP of the 2001 World Series with Randy Johnson.

          I’ll get off my soap box..

          1. Hawkeye…I do think the consensus on here is that Schilling is deserving of a selection…his on-field performance warrant it.
            But it is post-career outspokenness that seems to rub some writers the wrong way.
            Same can be said about Bonds and Clemens….besides the PED issues, they were not particularly nice guys in the clubhouse…they had a bit of a snarl most times..
            Ortiz, on the other hand, though a DH for 80% plus of his career and a 2004 implication to PEDs….was the lovable Big Papi to everyone.

          2. I’ve been saying the same thing (in generalities, not specifics), but it’s crystal clear that, on the merits of his playing career Schilling is a HOFer. It’s not close and it’s not reasonably debatable. This is all about Schilling’s conduct off the field and whether that should be sufficient to disqualify him. You may think it isn’t sufficient to disqualify him but Schilling certainly isn’t doing himself any favors with his words and actions.

            1. Schilling is a proponent of America’s basic freedoms. His delivery may not be to everyone’s taste and his platform isn’t altered to fit the narrative of too many of today’s sanctimonious baseball writers. That’s why he’s not already in the HOF. They disqualified him by virtue of his honest conservatism and incredulity to their corporate beholders. Nothing else. Not for immorality, not for duplicity, not for cheating.

            2. Mark – I didn’t mean to turn this into a political debate (and I won’t). Obviously, you and Schilling share a political ideology that many do not share, including and especially the writers (and I also do not agree with virtually all of his stated views). I am just saying three things. First, those stances have nothing to do with his performance on the field – I think we both agree with that. Second, there’s no evidence he cheated or did anything off the field relating to baseball that would call his candidacy into question- I think we agree with that too. Third, whether you like him or not or agree with him or not, he certainly seemed to do his level best to antagonize people and even went so far as to ask not to be voted into the HOF and, so he didn’t do himself any favors trying to get votes. Whether he should have done that is another topic of discussion, but having done that, he can’t be too surprised at the outcome.

            3. Rather than saying the writers didn’t share his ideology, I should have said “many of the writers” which is clearly the case and much more accurate.

  10. I thought he had a shot to one day throw in MLB. Good luck to the young man in his post playing career.

  11. Encouraged by the progress, if meager at the moment, that the CBA talks are making. Consecutive days is always a good sign. Yes, time will be maxed out until the last drop of blood can be drawn from the other side, but I think that start of spring camps should only be delayed by a week or so.

    1. … and man is it going to be wild witnessing Dave Dombrowski on steroids finishing the Phillies roster after the CBA is signed and before the start of spring training. He’ll be living on Red Bulls.

  12. I know an MLB agent who is hearing if the CBA discussions linger too far into February spring training games will be moved back until March 7th..

    1. Yea I see this going deep into spring
      Too much greed on both sides

      I hope both sides lose a ton of money

  13. Logan O’hoppe is at the top of the list for a player that has excelled and forced his way on to the top prospect list. On the other side is Casey Martin, a player that had high expectations and was on top 10 lists after being drafted in the 3rd round with plenty of hype. Martin and Adonis Medina are probably the most disappointing high ranking prospects in the system.

  14. Jim, can’t access comments ti vote in pole 33
    I am always voting Donny Sands until he is picked. So you can auto count for him or send me more if you fix pole #33

  15. MLBTR reports today that the Giants and Mariners are known to be the leading favorites to sign Seiya Suzuki once the CBA is resolved. If SFG succeeds in doing so, that makes the Phillies and Mariners logically the leaders in the Kris Bryant sweepstakes, as was reported a week ago or so.

    The Kyle Schwarber market seems puzzling after pre-lockout talks broke down between his agent and the Phillies.

    The Rays are reportedly looking for a right handed hitting 1b in trade offers for Kevin Kiermaier, perhaps even a younger bat (Jhailyn Ortiz?)

    1. I think the Rays would prefer one of our younger prospects. I know their scout at the Complex. He’s tough to mislead in conversations. I think he’d target Viars, Lee, Azuaje … teenagers with lots of control, promising ceilings/floors, and little time in our/any other organization.

  16. mark, I would be surprised if the Bosox didn’t sign Schwarber. He was my early guess for us, but I am now thinking it’s Bryant

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