Weekly Discussion (1/15/23)

The hot stove season continues and the next international free agent period begins.


The Phillies continue to add free-agent minor leaguers to their farm.

The Phillies trade LHP Erik Miller to the Giants for RHP Yunior Marte.

To almost everyone’s surprise (not me, though), Francisco Morales cleared waivers and was outrighted to Lehigh Valley.

The Phillies reached contract agreements with 4 of 6 players eligible for arbitration – Rhys Hoskins ($12M), Gregory Soto ($3.925M), Ranger Suarez ($2.95), Edmundo Sosa ($950K).  They coulsdn’t come to agreements with Jose Alvarado and Seranthony Dominguez.  Alvarado and the Phillies are $0.5M apart.  He filed for $3.7M, the Phillies filed for $3.2M.  Dominguez and the Philies are a little further apart.  He filed for $2.9M, the Phillies filed for $2.1M.

Sunday was the first day of the international signing period.  The Phillies have signed twenty players.  Those in bold text have been confirmed – SS Jesus Starlyn Caba, LHP Luis Martinez, RHP Luis Dominguez, RHP Alexis De La Cruz, OF Isaac Ramirez, OF Esterling Rodriguez, OF Joseph DiazOF Jose MarchanRHP Pedro PeraltaOF Jeadden Calderon, C/3B Eduardo TaitLHP Eduardo Fernandez, C Alirio Ferrebus, LHP Angel Liranzo, RHP Alexander De Los Santos, C Yhoan Escalona, RHP Pan Wen-Hui, SS Renair Manrique, OF Victor Cardoza, OF Jorge Julio.

The Phillies bonus pool is $4.644Mafter the Phillies surrendered $0.5M for signing Nick Castellanos.

Hot Stove

Twenty-eight days until pitchers and catchers report.

Rumors, Facts, and Fiction

Don’t get carried away with the IFA signings.  I read this on Twitter, “Tomorrow the Phils are officially going to sign Starlyn Caba and I’m not being facetious when I say he’s automatically the best hitting prospect in the system. Legit star potential.”

A radio personality (WIP of course) from Philadelphia put that out here.  I haven’t seen anything this silly in a while.  Don’t fall for the hype like a lot of you do every year over the new toys we acquire.  At least let him get a season stateside before you go all “Luis Gracia” over him.

And be careful of the media types who compare him to Francisco Lindor.  Sal Agostinelli compared their body types as being similar, Caba at 5’10’/160 and Lindor at the time of his signing (he’s 5’11/190 now).  Sal likes Caba’s defense, too.  But, states he doesn’t have and may never have Lindor’s power.  Don’t let the media turn him into the next Lindor.  Wait for someone who actually sees him and the other new prospects to offer comps.

Just be careful what you read and what you believe.  These kids are just kids.  They are teenagers.  They are years away from the majors.

Key Dates

  • January 13, 2023: Deadline for teams and players to submit salary figures for arbitration.
  • January 15, 2023: Opening of the 2022-2023 international signing period.
  • February 13, 2023: Pitchers and catchers participating in the WBC report to their MLB camps.
  • February 16, 2023: Position players participating in the 2023 report to their MLB camps.
  • February 16, 2023: Pitchers and catchers report to ST.
  • February 21, 2023: Position players report to ST.   https://www.springtrainingcountdown.com/
  • February 24/25, 2023:  Start of minor league ST
  • February 25, 2023: Phillies First Spring Training Game (split squad)
  • March 8-21, 2023: WBC interuption to spring training
    • Pool A – Taichung, Taiwan; March 8-13, 202
    • Pool B – Tokyo, Japan; March 9-13, 2023
    • Pool C – Phoenix, Arizona; March 11-15, 2023
    • Pool D – Miami, Florida; March 11-15, 2023
      • Quarterfinals – Tokyo, Japan; March 15-16, 2023
      • Quarterfinals – Miami, Florida; March 17-18, 2023
        • Semifinals and Finals – Miami, Florida; March 19-21, 2023
  • March 30, 2023: Season Opener at Texas Rangers
  • April 6, 2023: Home Opener v. Cincinnati Reds
  • July 7-11, 2023: Rule 4 Amateur Draft in Seattle
  • August 23, 2023: Little League Classic in Williamsport, PA – Phillies v. Nationals
  • December 15, 2023: Close of the 2022-2023 international signing period


1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA LHP Eduardo Fernandez to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA C Yhoan Escalona to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA C Alirio Ferrebus to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA OF Jose Marchan to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA RHP Wen Hui Pan to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA RHP Alexander De Los Santos to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA C Eduardo Tait to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA LHP Angel Liranzo to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA RHP Pedro Peralta to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA SS Jesus Caba to an MiLB contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA LHP Luis Martinez to a minor league contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA RHP Luis Dominguez to a minor league contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA RHP Alexis De La Cruz to a minor league contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA OF Isaac Ramirez to a minor league contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA OF Esterling Rodriguez to a minor league contract
1/15/2023 – Phillies signed IFA OF Joseph Diaz to a minor league contract
1/15/2023 – 3B Vimael Machín assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/13/2023 – 3B Weston Wilson assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/11/2023 – Phillies signed free agent 3B Weston Wilson to a minor league contract
1/11/2023 – Phillies sent RHP Francisco Morales outright to Lehigh Valley
1/11/2023 – RHP Buddy Hayward retired
1/11/2023 – RHP Jon Duplantier assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/11/2023 – RHP Louis Head assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/11/2023 – CF Garrett Whitley assigned to Lehigh Valley
1/10/2023 – Phillies signed Vimael Machin to a minor league contract
1/09/2023 – Phillies released RHP Vinny Nittoli
1/09/2023 – San Francisco traded RHP Yunior Marte to Phillies for LHP Erik Miller
1/08/2023 – Phillies signed RHP Jace Vines to a minor league contract
1/07/2023 – Phillies activated LHP Gregory Soto
1/06/2023 – Phillies signed free agent RHP Louis Head to a minor league contract
1/04/2023 – Phillies activated RHP Craig Kimbrel

213 thoughts on “Weekly Discussion (1/15/23)

  1. Really, really not loving what Sal brings to the table these days. Why is he still running things on our international scouting? Where are the plus plus hitters? No offense (no pun intended), but I don’t want the next Freddy Galvis or Yhoshwar Garcia (what a waste of money). I want the next Juan Soto or Fernando Tatis, Jr. I don’t mind us signing a skinny little glove- first infielder. But I damn well mind when the signing takes up two thirds of the international budget. I hope this one works out but not a fan of this approach AT ALL.

    1. Yes…..maybe time for a move with Sal.
      I thought Sal had been moved to running scouting chores in the US northeast, I guess he is back down in Latin America.

      Though $3M is a biggie from their total budget …….Phillies can still sign as many as they want under a certain figure……not sure what it is now with the latest CBA…..use to be somewhere around $35K.

      Also, Padres practically blew their entire budget on Ethan Salas, catcher out of the Ven….rated numero uno by Jesse Sanchez and MLB.com.
      They are making big splashes for sure in their quest to overtake their neighbors the Dodgers.

    2. Name one outfielder that Sal or his team signed that turned into a solid big league outfielder – a good starting outfielder. By my count the number is zero. That’s freaking terrible. And he hasn’t yet produced a middle infielder that is a first division regular. Cesar was close but not quite there. Again, just terrible especially when you look at Atlanta and see what they produce year after year after year. Why is he still there using the team’s money? His sterling reputation is not entirely deserved. He needs to go.

        1. Also Jonathan Villar is still hanging around …a 12WAR career good player but really never a star player.
          Interesting, he was signed about 15 years ago as a teenager with the typical Latin middle infielder very lean frame……now over 225 lbs.

      1. Look, both Santana and Villar made the majors. That’s good. But neither guy became a consistent first division regular – the type of guy who can command a legitimate free agent contract. Villar had two good years interspersed with numerous bad years. He never deserved nor got a long-term contract. Santana had promise and one good year (around 2.6 WAR), and every other year he was 1 WAR or below – so he was not even a second division regular.

        As for the guys we kept, as much promise as Franco had, he was never a first division regular (he was close his first full season, then went nowhere). Freddy Galvis was a classic second division regular. Cesar was the closest and I was an advocate of his for many years (he did have a number of years where he played at or close to a first division regular), but, ultimately, his complete lack of awareness on the playing field (we saw it again last year when the Nationals played the Phillies – I don’t know how he makes so many crazy-bad mental errors during the course of games) meant he needed to go.

        So, basically, when you look back over a quarter of century of Latin American position players, there’s Carlos Ruiz, who was a glue player and absolute first division regular, but not quite a star, and Cesar Hernandez was had a few years where he was a borderline first division regular, and others where he was a second division regular. Over 25 years, man is that a bad track record.

        1. Yes…that is correct, it is a very disturbing track record over the last few decades. The money has been there the last 10/12 years…believe Tocci in 2011 was a big $$$ signing after almost a decade of very frugal pay-outs in the international market.
          Probably a combination of poor evaluation in the initial scouting and then also inadequate player development after the kids were signed resulted in the overall poor track record.
          And 5 GMs, Wade, Gillick, Amaro, Klentak and now Dombrowski have tried and are trying to make the necessary changes to correct things…..the process never stops.
          So just have to keep plugging away, and just maybe Dombrowski will have the magic bullet.

          1. I am soooo glad you mentioned Tocci (seriously, I am).

            One year I went to Reading I believe to watch a Phillies game and saw Tocci. I was in shock when I saw him in person. He looked like a not very strong 8th or 9th grade middle distance runner. I am not exaggerating. Anybody who looked at him would know immediately that this guy had no chance of fighting off and driving a good major league fastball. And guess what, he didn’t and nothing ever became of him. And then fast forward and guess who we waste a bunch of money on? Yoswar Garcia – who is even shorter and smaller than Tocci. Are you kidding me? Did we learn absolutely nothing over the last decade? Who is identifying and signing these players? What kind of echo chamber is our L.A. scouting system that we still think those signings are okay?

            Tocci and Garcia are the very definition of the Phillies’ failed approach with L.A. prospects, especially outfielders. These are players who had no shot of succeeding from the very beginning. And then I hear about us signing a skinny middle infielder for $3 million and I’m supposed to get excited? Well, I’m not because I see us following the same failed patterns over and over again.

            And look, I know the success rate of prospects is low, but you need to have a good plan to hit on some of them and I’m not seeing that with our L.A. position prospects.

            1. They have also come up short on some bigger players that recd big signing bonuses……..Juan Encarnacion, Deive Grullon, Jose Pujols, Abrahan Gutierrez and one I was really excited about based on his measurements and combine scores, Miguel Tejada’s son.
              Maybe Jhailyn Ortiz will eventually develop into a good MLB player

            2. Yeah, some prospects looked better on the surface, but it’s been a lot of failures. Some of those very physical prospects had hit tool issues or plate discipline problems. If you don’t walk enough, you have very little chance of succeeding in the big leagues. Ortiz has tools – they weren’t wrong about that (he has like 70 raw power and he can run and throw) and he does draw some walks. But he has serious hit tool and strikeout issues (they are obviously related). He’s going to need to make a lot of progress in the next couple of years to have a big league career.

  2. What ever happened to Luis Garcia? He was featured like”the nex coming”, now he was released and with the Tigers. Is he just an example of our minor league system?

    1. Then there were also 7 figure signings….middle infielders Braylan Gonzalez, and Arky Gamboa.
      Their track record is not doing great over the last 7/8 years.
      The lower money signings seem to have prospered with MLB careers…Freddy and Cesar for two…more than their million dollar signings.

  3. wow, didn’t we all think that the Phils had their SS of the future after Garcia’s initial season at age 17 in CGL. Tremendous year. Hopefully, this new player can make it.

  4. I think the Phillies have a development problem with hitters in the minors. I don’t think it is solely the talent that is brought in. The Klentak era was such a mess from a development standpoint and to me, that was his biggest failure as a GM. There is new blood running things now and hopefully that changes our pipeline but it take 4-5 years to really know if the changes are going to work. The good news is, besides our three top pitching prospects, all these younger guys have years to develop since our MLB roster is pretty set for next 3 years outside of 1st base.

  5. Way back when, Dr. Jimmy was telling all of us minions not to get too excited about Garcia being the second coming. He had watched him a lot and could see the flaws in this young player. We can dream but we have to realize that 99% of the time these dreams will not come to fruitiom.

    1. 99 percent is an accurate figure if you’re a Phillies fan. The chances are much better if you root for Atlanta, the Dodgers, Padres, Yankees or Nationals. We are freaking horrible at identifying and developing LA hitting talent. Bottom of the barrel bad.

  6. If the international pool is largely a lottery, why not spread the money around and not place too large a bet on one prospect?

  7. Someone not on 40 man roster to be promoted to active roster would likely be either 1 of Painter, Abel, McGarry for SP or it will be a minor league signing such as Vimael Machín as a bench player. Considering Harper will likely be transfered to 60day IL when the season opens. Currently there are 8 SP on roster with 13 RP. So its highly unlikely for a RP to be added this year because of the increased depth and quality of that depth. Now other injuries could change the direction.

    1. Where the sidewalk ends, nothing is written in stone. Injuries,non-performance, trades, dfa’s, alter the 40. No one knows tomorrow. After spring training it will solidify.

    1. I think Guthrie was mentioned to take Vierling place when the Soto trade was made. But a bullpen depth was noted as being a source of trade material should the right individual come along.

    1. They have done a bit better with pitchers. They got Sixto, Ranger, Hector Neris, Seranthony Dominguez and probably a few others I am missing. I would say they have done okay, but not great, with pitchers. Maybe you would give them a C or C+. With the hitters, you have to give them an F – or a D- – sorry, but it’s true.

      Carlos is probably the biggest signing, but how long ago was that? It’s over 20 years ago, for sure.

      1. Carlos Carrasco might be our best signing from recent decades that has made a mark in the big leagues. Carlos Silva before that but I wonder if he pre dates Sal.

        I am definitely a fan of spreading the money around. Luis Garcia is probably somebody we overpaid for and that cost us with the rest of the class. Jhailyn Ortiz too. Negotiating the larger contracts is not our strength.

        1. Forgot about Carrasco – yup, you’re right. They have done okay with the L.A. pitchers on the whole. Not great, but not bad either.

  8. I thought MLB was moving towards a true International draft? This system is designed to benefit the folks that prey on these kids. The illegal shenanigans that are allowed to continue without a draft, and the media only half-heartedly pointing it out…….I just don’t understand how there is not a greater pressure placed on MLB to clean up this part of their game.

    1. International draft:
      Many years ago it was the Latin MLB Caucus of players…approx 30%…..who threatened to strike if a draft was imposed on the young Latin kids.
      The latest rejection in July, coming out of the CBA from last Dec…was the MLBPA making the decision not to endorse a draft…..probably pressured by the Latin caucus within the MLBPA rank and file.
      It is a farce……seems the Buscones in the DR have some type of power hold on the Latin players.

  9. Ask yourself. Where is our Ronald Acuna, Jr.? Where is our Juan Soto? Where is our Fernando Tatis, Jr.? Where is our Miguel Cabrera? Where is our Wander Franco? Where is our Julio Rodriguez? Year after year as we sign skinny little outfielders and infielders who are athletic and can chase, but not drive, a baseball we ask ourselves where is that star player? But he never shows up. Like ever, ever.

    If, after twenty years, you never see that guy, wouldn’t you start to think that maybe you’re doing something seriously wrong? Sorry, but our L.A. efforts have just been a disaster and I am sick of it. I am also sick of the “Sal Agostinelli is a genius who hasn’t been given the resources to succeed” narrative. Maybe that was true 10-15 years ago but it hasn’t been recently and he’s done nothing to validate that narrative or his leading largely fruitless efforts to bring a star position player here.

  10. Sal A has to have some primo pics of powerful folks to still have his job, even people with a modicum level of success don’t last this long. Three decades and still zero every day difference-makers. Yes, we have done well with the under the radar arms. But a complete failure on all our mid 6 figure to 7 figure signings, everybody gets fired in sports eventually……everybody but Sal A.

  11. Huh??? Carlos Ruiz? I hold him as high an esteem as anyone but if you saw Juan Samuel or Julio Franco play you wouldn’t be asking this question. Look, the Phils lack of success in the international market recently is well documented but I refuse to judge the Dombrowski/Mattingly/et all group by the those of past failures. These guys know what they are doing and personally I fully expect a rebirth of the Phillies on the international market. Why would I not expect this [and this is not a question but a statement].

    This organization is no more like the 2012-2020 group that the late 60’s were to the 70’s. Night and day. And if you need further truth just ask yourself this…how many of you were convinced at this time last year that the Phils really had no minor league prospects ready to contribute at the major league. Yet I can, one year later, name about 10 guys who helped the team at some point, off the top of my head, Maton, Falter,Vierling and Brognon come to mind.

    And which team had not only the Minor League Hitter of the Year in many periodicals in O’Hoppe but the Minor League Pitcher of the Year in Painter. And DD has used those minor league graduates to trade and enhance the major league club, which really is one of the reasons you want to develop young minor leaguers.

    As a long time phan and a survivor of 1964, Black Friday, Joe Carter, A Rods home run off a TV wire and Chris Carpenter last great major league start I understand the fear and skepticism. But don’t count me as one of those phans.

    Talented guys do talented things and its no coincidence that under Pat Gillick and now Dave Dombrowski, Philadelphia has once again become one of the centers of the baseball universe. We have a winner in DD and winners win. Our system, including internationally is now in solid hands. Enjoy and embrace it.

    1. Wooooo . . hold on a minute.

      We are not slamming the whole organization. What they have done with pitching recently is great.

      Those successes having nothing to do with what we are talking about here, which is an abject failure of this organization to identify and develop positional players in Latin America. Finding Carlos Ruiz down there like 24 years ago, if anything, shows how bad it’s been. In 24 years you have one first division regular to show for all your efforts? What a disaster!!! You need to raise your expectations if you think that’s enough. It definitely isn’t and something needs to change down there. The pretty obvious target is Sal Agostinelli. He has done a really bad job of signing position prospects over the years.

      1. I wonder if maybe fans in Atlanta, San Diego, Tampa, Boston et al are asking themselves….where is our Latin pitchers like Ranger Suarez’ and Seranthony Dominguez?

        1. No, they aren’t, just like Eagles fans aren’t sitting around wishing we drafted as well as the Falcons or Jets. They may like a player we have here and there but don’t be silly – it’s not happening.

            1. Haha. Seriously, do you really think most people, from a distance, look at the Phillies’ Latin American efforts and think “I wish we were doing what the Phillies are doing?” I just don’t see that, do you?

            2. Whereas I definitely think they would be envious about what the club has done over the last 3 years with the pitchers it has drafted and developed. I always thought this taboo about not taking right-handed high school pitchers was probably overstated and the Phillies are proving me right. I think probably what happened historically was that the top young high school pitchers were simply worked too hard by their coaches and often arrived in pro ball as damaged goods. I think almost everyone is more careful with high school pitchers these days – or one would think.

            3. Probably not…….just curious to see a Padre blog after the Suarez NLCS performance against them.

  12. Whenever I see a signing like Caba, I always ask myself, if every Phillies minor leaguer was made a FA tomorrow, who would get more than $3 mil to sign? I call it the Market view of the value of a prospect. Let’s look at our top 5:

    1. Andrew Painter. If Painter was made a FA today, I think that he would command $20 million. a legit top of the rotation stud pitching prospect doesn’t come around often. Huge bidding war for a guy like him.
    2. Mick Abel. given the lack of pitching prospects, Abel probably gets more than $3m in the open market, but less than $5m.
    3. Grif McGarry. No chance Grif gets $3m+. I would guess less than $1m.
    4. Johan Rojas. Imo Rojas probably gets more than Grif in the open market but also, no chance of $3m+ imo
    5. Justin Crawford. Crawford just got a $4m signing bonus so at least the Phils think that he is worth that much.

    So based on this market view of a prospect’s value, our prospect list would look like:
    1. Painter
    2. Abel
    3. Crawford
    4. Caba
    5. Rojas
    6. Grif

    1. It is extremely hard to know what these players would command because the whole free agent system and drafting system is designed to significantly depress a player’s market value until a year or two before the player becomes a free agent (and even then it’s still depressed to a great extent, especially with elite players). And you really can’t rely on what a draftee was paid because these amounts are slotted by the league – they are not market-based – but you can imagine that whatever the slot is, it’s just a fraction of the market value of the slot, at least for the first several rounds or so.

      1. And while it’s true a team can go above slot, giving the team some flexibility, because the team’s top 10 rounds of slotted value are fixed, again, it seriously depresses the player’s value. I tend to agree, however, that a player like Painter would be at or above $20 million. I think everyone is seriously underestimating the value of Abel. He’s a superb prospect – throwing in the high 90s with plus plus breaking stuff. But Painter shines brightly likely the sun, obscuring other nearby bright objects – one of which is Abel.

      2. Yeah. It is just an exercise to try to use estimated market prices on prospects. Ultimately, the Phillies must believe that Crawford is worth at least $4mil or they wouldn’t have paid him that.

        My other guesses are just that. What I think Painter and others would get if they were international free agents.

    2. Market value is a lot different than the signing bonus pool value though. A top prospect like Painter might be worth $100 million on an open market. Trade value is probably like 5 times the pool value as all signing bonuses are artificially depressed in value because of the system.

      Part of the reason it might not be the worst thing for the Phillies to trade for some additional international allocations the next few years since we have lost $500K on this year’s pool and $1 million next year.

        1. If you take competitive balance thresholds out of the equation Crawford would get a bonus (not a yearly salary) of like $15 million. Remember the bonus theoretically gets you 6-7 years of undervalued performance with the pre-arbitration years at a ridiculous discount.

          You can’t really compare yearly salaries fairly though for players that are not in the majors. Trade value is a combination of present performance (zero for Crawford) measured against future performance (discounted by cost – 6-7 years for maybe $20 million of total salary including middling arbitration awards). If Crawford is a success he might generate 20 WAR over those 6-7 years. If a failure then 0. If his odds of generating even 10 total WAR are like 25% then he is probably worth more than $20 million now if there were something similar to the European soccer transfer market.

          1. I think your estimates are really really high. Well above market for an 18yo. Even the top LatAm prospects only get $5mil. Crawford is a good prospect but certainly not worth 3x more than the best LatAm prospect any given year.

            1. The issue is that it is not a free market though. Draft and international bonuses are constrained by pool limits. Remember Yoan Moncada? He was signed in a last gasp of the unlimited international market at a point where baseball executives finally realized the value of prospects in a free market. He got a bonus of $31.5 million but the Red Sox really paid double that ($63 million) with penalties. That was back in 2015. Revenues have probably increased close to 50% in the 8 years since then.

              A bonus of $100 million for a top prospect is completely in line with that (i.e. what would Painter be worth in an open market?). And remember as prospects are older they are more certain, so a 20-year-old Painter might be worth more than any 16 or 18-year-old prospect.

              Draft and international pools vastly underestimate the value of talent. My 5-1 guess is probably something that is close to accurate if there were a market, at least for the top talent. Mid-level talent would continue to get underpaid just like in any free agent market because of scarcity.

  13. Eagle 5 Totally agree that an international draft is needed. However, the “agents” for these talented LA players have objected to and lobbied against it for years. I don’t see anything different happening in the near future.

    1. As other Far Eastern markets become more fertile maybe the Buscones will see the light and the errors in their thinking
      Phillies are definitely trying to make inroads in Taiwan and Australia, then there is also Korea and maybe even China.
      And the players from those countries are NOT demanding 7 figure signing bonuses.
      But do not see anyone yet from Tahiti!

  14. Some good points have been raised but to me I’m always stuck on the development vs drafting and signing question. Where is the real problem? Guys like Ortiz and Luis Garcia certainly had potential. Guys like Cesar, Galvis, and Franco had potential. Marchan could be on that list too. But none ever made that big jump. Why is that? Just not that good? Poor development? Bad luck? Or is just really hard to predict how a 16 year old kid will develop?

  15. Murray it is really hard to know how a 15- or 16-year-old kid develops and baseball is probably the most difficult of the major sports. Hitting a baseball is probably the most difficult thing to do for an athlete. Some may disagree on that, but it is really hard to do. Plus, kids develop physically at different times. I am always amused when you see someone who makes the majors and they kind of came from nowhere. That happens a lot. Back to the International stuff and I may be wrong but were Acuna and Soto fairly low $$$ signings? At least I thought that I had heard that somewhere along the way. I would think it is even more difficult to evaluate the kids today. So many other things enter their lives and one season to the next may be completely different. I personally think it is much easier for a kid to have great fielding and defensive metrics at a young age than the hitting tools. There are always exceptions but some of you have been mentioning the great glove no hit players.

    1. Don…….Soto was signed by Rizzo and the Nats for $1.5M, Acuna otoh, was less than $250K. Tatis and the WSox…..$825K.
      Phillies spent a heck of a lot more…Ortiz was over $4M in 2015

    2. D53 I think you are so spot-on? Back in the day we were drafting 30 players a year who were mostly college grads, and all at least high school grads . Maybe 1 a year was a star. Maybe. And most didn’t sniff the major leagues. Yet there is criticism when a smaller percentage of 15 and 16 year old players don’t make it? The cost for value gained for players like Ortiz may not be good, but when you look at the gargantuan value gained with pitchers just from Ranger and Nerez and Domingo alone, the Phillies can be rightfully proud – can’t they?

  16. Thanks guys. I just thought that I had heard on games they were playing that both were signed for not large amounts. I do not know at what age either were signed. Like I said it is hard. The other thing extremely hard is how badly they want to play and be good or great. Almost no way of knowing that watching a kid on a diamond somewhere. Romus, I copied all those things that the pitchers are measured per pitch at Grand Park. I did not get a chance to talk to kid. They lost by a couple points and coach kept them a log time in locker room. I finally left. So, I still do not know what system is called. I will post them if you wish. If not, I will just hold on. Hinkie mentioned one of kids Phillies signed with spin rate of over 3,000. Couple of pics I have had them in the 2900 range on spin rate. These were 15 years olds that I was watching.

  17. Romus…just seeing that Utley is going to be in uniform for Phillies Phantasy Camp.
    Gosh Chase must have got my spot for the camp. LOL

    1. Don…yep…..he took your slot…big shoes to fill for sure! 🙂
      Camp starts on Wednesday I believe.

  18. Frank Thomas has passed. Perhaps Romus can explain to me what went on in 1964 between him and Dick Allen. I think the Phillies released Thomas after that. And do you believe that had anything to do with the collapse?

    1. ciada….there may have been some racial implications there. ….clubhouse altercation occurred. No sense reliving that…..they are both gone.

    2. ciada…..the collapse…could have been effected by that July altercation….Thomas released….and gave his account…Phillies players were told not to say anything….so naturally Allen became a fans’ target until finally he was traded to the Cardinals down the road a few years later.

      1. If I am not mistaken, that altercation took place during the 1965 season, not 1964.

  19. Phillies have 7th best odds for 23 WS. +1400
    Yankees and Astros are 1 and 2.
    Mets and Dodgers are 3 and 4.
    Braves and Padres are 5 and 6.
    Looks a lot like the end of 22.

  20. Does anyone know how the actual amount of the international signing pool is determined, if the monies forfeited from teams for that pool are redistributed to other teams? Is it an equal distribution? Do teams that forfeit funds not pick up funds from other teams? Are the redistributed funds added to the same years International pool? If not, are funds from other years already worked in to this year’s allowance?

  21. Dave Aug You are correct, sir as Ed McMahon would say to Johnny Carson. As I recollect, Thomas broke his hand in ’64 and that hurt the Phillies chances. So it was in the ’65 season that he was released. Thanks for that.

      1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Phillies have never had three starting pitching prospects at one time as good as Painter, Abel and McGarry (the average, of course, is brought up seriously by Painter – who is the definition of an elite prospect). It was really scary when we also had Ben Brown, who I think is going to develop into a mid-rotation big league starter.

        1. I’ve posted this before … the Painter/Abel/McGarry threesome reminds me a lot of Pittsburgh’s Cole/Taillon/Glassnow group from a decade ago.

          1. I like to think the Phillies……Hamels, Floyd and Myers is there…the three together ended up with 90WAR over their collective years….with Hamels making up 2/3rds of that WAR.
            But have to see how it pans out for the latest trio of Phillies high end pitching prospects.

  22. To combat some negative vibes – Overall, I personally have never seen the club in a better overall position, than anytime during my 37 year “cognitive” fandom. That’s not to say there is not room for improvement, but try to really enjoy this time as it is very rare to experience. It’s not going to last as long as we all want it to. We
    Can all find fault within the organization, but they have been able overcome their short comings by FA & trades, while catching up with prospects. They have the offense shored up, and pitching reinforcements are on the way. When have the Phillies ever had 2 pitchers in the top 20 of baseball? That’s already with 2 pitchers who are considered top 20 in the league. Whether you agree with the rankings, the point remains… the championship hasn’t come yet, but this should be the golden era of Phillies baseball over the next 5 years. Remember to enjoy it… cause we all know how it feels when it’s not.

  23. To dismiss the Thomas-Allen story as unimportant simply because they are both now gone does a disservice to family members of both players, the Phillie organization and more importantly, the truth of the story. To wit, Thomas was historically blamed for being a raciest and that it was a raciest incident that led to the Thomas/Allen fight that occurred on July 3, 1965, just as the ’65 Phillies were playing their best baseball of the season and were in the midst of 6 game winning streak.

    Here are the facts, based on later interviews with Thomas, Allen, Callison and a few other players who witnessed the event. In a bit of historic irony for one month, the period of Aug. 7-Sept 7, 1964 there might not have been a more fearsome trio of hitters in baseball than the 3 headed monster of Allen, Callison and Thomas. The Phils up to that point were losing almost every time they faced a lefty but still led the NL by 1.5 games due to the daily heroics of rookie Richie Allen and presumed MVP Johnny Callison.

    That all changed on Aug. 7 when the Phils acquired the aging slugger Frank Thomas from the woebegone NY Mets. I remember it well as I so loved that team and felt the acquisition of Thomas was a potentially brilliant move. It was. Over the next month the Phils went 21-11 and Thomas led the charge. playing all 32 games and hitting 7 home runs and driving in 26 runs. Along with the recently recalled Alex Johnson these two additions made the Phils offense a formidable weapon against lefties and the lead lengthened to at one time would be 7 games.

    Then on Sept 8, in a makeup game against the Dodgers, Thomas broke his thumb. This changed the course of the Phils 1964 season while everyone talks about the 10 game collapse that ended their season, in reality it was the Thomas injury that ultimately doomed them. Without the potent bat of Thomas in the middle of the order the Phils offense became moribund and while the team went 7-5 over their next 12 games it was clear that his bat was missing greatly. In fact, in his autobiography, ace hurler Jim Bunning said if Thomas stays healthy the Phils win the pennant by 10 games. I agree with this synopsis.

    Now we come to that fateful night on July 3, 1965. Allen is hitting .341 and looks for all the world like just about the best hitter in baseball. Callison is having a great year also. Thomas is now a bench player, supplanted by slugger Dick Stuart and has yet to even hit his first home run.

    Thomas and Callison are taking batting practice and Allen is fielding ground balls at 3rd base. Apparently, Callison said something in jest to Allen from a distance about his fielding and Allen thought it came from Thomas. Thomas’s nickname was The Big Donkey so when Allen heard the remark and thought it came from Thomas he remarked in kind, possibly with a donkey reference. What is known for sure is that Thomas didn’t like what he heard and an argument resulted in Thomas hitting Allen in the shoulder with his bat.

    Things quickly de-escalated and the game began. Here is another irony. The Phils that night blew a big lead and lost 10-8 DESPITE the offensive heroics of Allen and Thomas. Allen went 3-4 with 2 triples and 4 RBI and Thomas hit a late game tying home run before the Reds won the game in the 9th inning. After the game Manager Gene Mauch told Allen not to say a word or he would be fined and Thomas was released the next day DESPITE the efforts of Allen to not let Thomas go.

    History would reveal 3 things about that event. One, the Phils were never the same after that event an finished a disappointing 5 in the league. Two, Thomas was basically finished as a major leaguer and would not only hit 7 more home runs in his career but would forever be labeled a raciest. And most unfortunately, three, Allen would never again shine with that same youthful exuberance in a Phillies uniform again. He would finish the season at .302 and though he had a strong ’66 season he was a different player, no longer engaged and looking like the guy who was so brilliant before the incident. Workman like but not exuberant is how I would describe it.

    In 1989 the Phils came together in August for their 25 year reunion of that doomed ’64 team and most of the team was there. Thomas embraced Allen and they both acknowledged how they were brothers from years past and that had the press not kept the story alive…and had Thomas not gotten released, the story might well have died.

    I am not here to eulogize Frank Thomas, I know not of his raciest tendencies or not. What I do know is that the Thomas/Allen fight was not racially motivated and that for 1 magical month in 1964 Allen and Thomas were seen and photographed arm in arm more than once after leading the Phightin Phils to another victory. This is how I choose to remember Thomas and hope this puts to rest the silly notion that the fight was racially motivated or that Thomas even started it.

    1. CD…………..good read! Another good read is: DelawareToday “Recounting the 1964 Phillies”.

  24. CD – Thanks for enlightening me on the subject. Hopefully, Thomas and Allen are arm in arm up above and batting 3 and 4 in His lineup.

  25. CD, Thank You for the reminder of what happened. I was 11, and a huge fan of the team, and Dick Allen. The organization was not good, at all, to him, starting with his assignment in Rookie Ball to Arkansas, one of the most racist places he could go. That had a lasting effect. Making him stay silent, and then letting him be portrayed as the villain in the story, in many circles, and releasing Frank Thomas when Allen lobbied for him to stay was a bad decision. Let’s just say that John Quinn, the GM, was never compared to Branch Rickey. Moving on, does no one else think that we add another OF to the mix?

  26. Matt… I too was 11. The 64 team was the first Phillies team I began to follow. I have mentioned before I could pick up WCAU 1260 maybe or 1220 at night on my old radio in Central Indiana. Callison was my guy, and I modeled my batting stance after him. I think it was because they also were on the Game of the Week a few times with Dizzy and Pee Wee and I got to see them live a few times. I am not sure on that. I too was a right-handed kid who batted left-handed like Callison did. Thanks CD all your detail. I did not remember Frank Thomas. But I do remember that things changed for Allen. I can still remember that he used such a large bat.
    Matt … that is a good question on an outfielder. I really do not have any inkling one way or the other.

  27. Matt13 – I think they will add another ph/outfielder – preferably right handed. Maybe Pham ? or another old warhorse. They will look to spend very little.

  28. Adam Duvall to the Red Sox for 1 year/$7mm. I would’ve liked him as the fourth outfielder for the Phils. Their depth seems a little think and I would prefer an established guy, especially while Harper is out, rather than relying completely on farm players and minor league signees. In for a penny, in for a pound? They’re already over the tax, so why not nab someone else to give this roster the absolute best shot to win while Harper is out and if/when someone has an injury. Infield depth I feel like is okay with Guthrie and Sosa in short bursts, but I don’t love what we have to work with in the OF.

    1. I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with the reasoning for not signing Adam Duvall … but … there are different penalties for the amount of money the team goes over the LTT. The threshold for 2023 is 233M. If the club stays within 20M of the threshold, they are only hit with financial tariffs. If the team passes the extra 20M, they also get their 2024 first round draft pick docked 10 spots. According to Roster Resource, the Phillies are currently @ $253,574,000. They can trade Sam Coonrod for a prospect, and avoid the 1st round penalty (and I think there’s a pretty good chance that happens this spring).
      One other thing to remember … the Phils have already surrendered their 2nd & 5th round picks for 2024 because they were over the LTT last season and signed a QO FA (Trea Turner). This is not to say Dombrowski/Fuld can’t/won’t make a trade to help the club this summer. They can always look to surrender more in prospect capital, and have the club they are swapping with pay the player’s remaining 2023 salary.

  29. I also liked Duvall. I have no clue what Jake Cave can bring to the table, and I see that extra OF need. Maybe Pham?

  30. Since you guys are going back to the by gone years here is one that always bugged me when I was young. I forget exactly when Curt Flood won the court case that brought about Free Agency for players. I know it was in the early 70s. But my big recollection of the early free agent days was one night when I heard that Dave Cash had opted to leave the Phillies. I thought to myself how he could do that. The Phillies were good, and I think he went to the Pirates, but I may be wrong on that. So, from that day on he was always a traitor to me. Cal or Romus or one of you can put the years to this but it always something that stood out to me about the early days of free agency in baseball. Just shows you how old I am.

    1. The cool thing about Curt Flood is that we received Willie Montanez instead of Flood, then after a couple of fun years with Willie we traded him for Gary Maddox. Worked out great for us.

      1. Denny….Willie was also a very good first baseman. Love watching him flip his glove when he caught the ball….a real showman.

  31. Don…I, too, was stunned when Dave Cash left the Phils after the 1976 season as a free agent. He had put 3 great years together with the Phils [1974-76], made the All Star team a couple of times and was certainly part of a young and talented nucleus of Schmidt, Luzinski, Bowa, Maddox, Boone and Carlton. To this day I still say he was the biggest free agent loss the Phils have ever suffered.

    He left for the Montreal Expos where he was never again the same player. There were reports that his wife had a tiff with management and convinced her husband that it was no longer tenable to stay with the Phils but that was never verified. To add intrigue to the story, on the day in Montreal that the Phils clinched the division, many of the Phils African American players [Cash, Allen, Tony Taylor] celebrated in a separate part of the clubhouse and a controversy arose when Allen demanded that Taylor be put on the post season roster though he had barely played in 1976. The Phils compromised and made him the 1st base coach.

    Worth noting was that Garry Maddox was not comfortable with this private celebration and did not participate. That said, it was embarrassing for the Phils and certainly did not add any energy to an already difficult task of beating the Reds in the playoffs. They were in fact then swept in 3.

    When the season ended the Phils made barely an effort to keep either Cash or Allen, who both left as free agents, to be replaced by Teddy Sizemore and Richie Hebner. The Hebner signing was a real solid addition as he gave them two very productive years but while Sizemore was competent and fiery he was no Dave Cash.

    One of the biggest regrets I had as a Phillies phan in 1977 was wondering just how powerful that team would have been with Cash. It is still the greatest offensive team in my Phillie phan lifetime and Cash might have made it an all timer National League great, he was that skilled with the bat.

    By the way, the Curt Flood case was settled in the early 1970’s and was a landmark case, which lead to the free agency of Cash and Allen. It is also worth noting that both Cash and Allen later returned to work in the Philadelphia organization.

    1. Cash was the highest paid Phillies’ player in 1976 @ $300,000.
      Carlton was 2nd highest at $160k, Allen $145k, Bowa & Schmidt $120k each.
      Cash went to Montreal for the same salary in ’77 but for a 5-year contract, total $1.5mm. He only spent 3 years there and then the next and final year of his career in SD.
      If we would have signed Cash we would have had a declining player late in the’70s and might not have traded for Many Trillo.

        1. Mr. Dreamer … I’m glad you mentioned Garry Maddox. He is one of the most decent men to ever wear a Phillies uniform. I bring this up because something strange happened this summer when the Phillies honored the 1980 team. I was sent a picture (by someone at the scene) taken inside the tunnel where all the members of the ’80 club were gathered before Dan Baker introduced them on the field. The picture I received (and I’m looking at it again as I post this) shows Maddox in what looks to be a serious conversation with Pete Rose. Larry Bowa is standing next to them, Bob Boone in front of them, and Greg Luzinski behind them. I don’t know (and either does the person who took the pic) what the Maddox-Rose discussion was about … but … moments later, when the ’80 team was introduced, Gary Maddox was a no-show. Baker said he was “unable to attend”. A lot of speculation between me and the person who took the picture, but that is all it is. Has anyone else heard/read anything that explained why Garry Maddox was “unable to attend” that day?

  32. Thanks Cal. You can go so much deeper into what actually took place than I can remember being just an Indiana kid. Though I did play a few times against Tommy Underwood. Kokomo is only about 30 minutes from here. I was a huge fan of Dave Cash. I graduated in 71 so I knew the Flood case was right in that time period.
    Here is a question for you. Did the Thomas situation cause Allen to quit going by Richie and change to Dick or did that happen when he went to the White Sox?
    The fact that the Phillies were really good at the time was why I just could not understand whey Cash would leave. Looking back if the Phillies made little effort to sign them that was a big mistake on their part. I mentioned WCAU. I think that is right but think 2110 was the signal. Someone will have to help me. We have a 1260 sports channel here now, so I am sure it was not that.

      1. I remember in 1975 traveling from StL to Philly spending a night in Terre Haute IN. Pulling into the motel parking lot hearing a Philly station broadcasting the Flyers final hockey game and their Stanley Cup Championship.

  33. Don…interesting question about the affect that the Thomas/Allen fight had on Allen requesting he be called Dick Allen instead of Richie. He always said his real name was always Dick or Richard but was called Richie Allen while in the Phils minors and the name had stuck until he requested the change in 1966.

    There is little doubt that the treatment he received after the fight, the incessant booing, caused his personality to change. It was so sad to witness on so many levels. He was a generational talent and his 1964-65 [pre fight] performance on the field was the best I ever witnessed and this is coming from a guy who grew up watching Willie Mays in the Bay Area.

    One particular double header against the Giants at Connie Mack Stadium really exemplified everything. He played poorly in the first game, a loss, and was booed terribly. he then came up in the first inning of Game 2 with the bases loaded and hit a monstrous grand slam home run as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. He then mishandled a player later in the game and got booed.

    I still say his rookie year was the greatest season I have witnessed as a Phillie phan and that includes Mike Schmidt, circa 1980-81.

  34. Alex Coffey wrote an article about Preston Mattingly’s State of the Union, and he, of course, mentioned Painter and Abel. Also interesting is his praise for Hao Yu Lee, Gabriel Rincones, Alex McFarlane and Christian McGowan

    1. Hinkie top 30 …

      1 Andrew Painter
      2 Mick Abel
      3 Johan Rojas
      4 Griff McGarry
      5 Justin Crawford
      6 Hao Yu Lee
      7 Alex McFarlane
      8 Nikau Pouaka-Grego
      9 Simon Muzziotti
      10 Jordan Viars
      11 Gabriel Rincones
      12 Christian McGowan
      13 Jesus Starlyn Caba
      14 Pan Wen-Hui
      15 Enrique Segura
      16 Andrew Baker
      17 Rickardo Perez
      18 Jaydenn Estanista
      19 William Bergolla
      20 Emaarion Boyd
      21 Jhailyn Ortiz
      22 Francisco Morales
      23 Micah Ottenbreit
      24 James McArthur
      25 Carlos De La Cruz
      26 Yhoswar Garcia
      27 Noah Song
      28 Aroon Escobar
      29 Jean Cabrera
      30 Tommy McCollum

      1. Hinkie…agree with you on Viars…think the kid will come into his own this season.
        And do not overlook LHP Mavis Graves, could be a real sleeper if one can call a 6th round pick a sleeper.
        The four HS kids the Phillies drafted last year all could turn out to be special players. They all have an exceptional raw skill-set.

        1. Viars was, perhaps, the biggest disappointment of last year, so I am also hoping he can turn it around. The tools appear to be there and he’s still very young. Early industry reports on Bergolla are through the roof so I’m optimistic about him too.

          1. I saw what Sal A. said about Caba…the new signee from the DR….he said:
            “But he’s really good, defensively. He’s as good as it gets, in my opinion. I think the only thing that would stop him from playing in the big leagues, defensively, right now, is that he’d make some errors — just because he’d be in awe. Like the emotion of it. But he’s going to be there. I’ve been doing this for 27 years, and I’ve never seen a shortstop move around like he did. I really haven’t.”
            That is some very high praise….I hope the kid can hit.

            1. This is the entire crux of the problem in my view. Look at the history of baseball and identify the great players who were only great fielders and not at least very good hitters. Maybe Mark Belanger, a few catchers, but even Brooks Robinson, Larry Bowa and Ozzie Smith were good offensive players. You don’t burn 3/4 of your allotted money on a defensive specialist – a guy who, if he’s not a good hitter, might turn out to be a 2-3 WAR player.

              I don’t know, maybe he will be a really good hitter too, but it seems to me they aren’t prioritizing correctly, which is why they have had trouble with L.A. prospects for the last 30 years or more.

      2. Hinkie……..I’m not challenging your 25th pick, but I would genuinely like to know your thoughts on the guy. You evidently see some signs he has long odds to making it to the show. Is it his k rate?

        1. Skeet … About four years ago, I posted Carlos De La Cruz had the highest ceiling of any offensive player in the Phillies system. But yeah, the K-rate is going to keep him from coming close to that ceiling. At 6’9″, his strike zone looks like it’s going to be a mountain too high to climb. The only other current MLB batters w/similar physical profiles I can think of are Aaron Judge and Oneil Cruz. They each made it through MiLB with K% of ~24%. De La Cruz has been at ~33%. BTW … James Wood is the other palm tree (6’7″/230) playing MiLB. His K% is 24%.

          1. Hinkie…two other rather tall and large bodies that probably are closely aligned to Carlos are Buckeye Frank Howard…way before your time…he had a 21% minor league K-rate…..and current MLBPA president, Tony Clark….he had a 26% K-rate in the minors.
            They both went on to varying degrees of a productive MLB careers.

            1. Also Herman Munster in his LA Dodger tryout protected the strike zone and hit the long, long ball. Lol.

          2. I hear you, Hinkie. De la Cruz certainly has red flags. They are real and they are a concern. However, he is a player who had serious breakout year last year where the strikeout rates were down, contact and power were way up and where, after an initial breakout, the player was promoted and did nothing but continue to improve and perform better at the higher level (he also had a solid AFL with a .884 OPS although, again, Ks and walks were a concern). He also has both good athleticism and plus raw power. He will need to keep the strikeouts in check and he will need to draw more walks – it remains to be seen if he can make progress on both fronts. I originally ranked him around 7 or 8 which, in retrospect, was too high. But with his growing contact skills, athleticism and very much plus (60-65) raw power, I’d have a hard time ranking below 15 or 16.

  35. Just saw Baseball America has Painter at #5 on their top 100 (#1 among pitchers). Abel is at #40 (#12 among pitchers, #10 for righties). That’s a very good sign. Obviously the results matter, but projection weighs pretty heavily in BA’s lists typically. Hard not to be excited about our pitchers in the pipeline at this point.

    Interestingly, the Braves have zero prospects on the top 100 list. So, obviously, we should expect them to promote two or three players that perform at 6-8 WAR levels this season.

    1. “Interestingly, the Braves have zero prospects on the top 100 list. So, obviously, we should expect them to promote two or three players that perform at 6-8 WAR levels this season.”

      LOL! Dan, that is definitely the best comment of the new year and oh so true. Where do these Braves prospects come from year after year after year? It doesn’t matter if they were highly regarded or not – they just get promoted and produce.

      1. The thing that drives me nuts about the Braves is that they break them out, stroke them up to become producers, then when they get expensive let them walk, then fill in behind them with new blood and start the cycle all over again!🥵

        1. Add onto that the little fact that when a player LEAVES the Braves, there’s roughly a 50-50 chance they’ll fall off a cliff production-wise.

          Will they be Jason Heyward? Will they be Freddie Freeman? Heck, even their role players are like that. Kurt Suzuki put up 2.6 and 2.1 bWAR in his two years as the Braves’ part-time catcher (when he split time roughly evenly with Tyler Flowers between the two years). He didn’t even put up 1 bWAR combined in the year before joining the Braves and after leaving them. Heck, in his 16 seasons, he only put up 2+ bWAR 6 times. He needed 30+ more games to do it when he wasn’t in Atlanta.

          Someone needs to figure out what deal they made and with which devil.

      2. “Where do these Braves prospects come from…”
        Fun fact: Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna were signed in 2014 when Johnny Almaraz was the Braves’ Director of International Scouting and Operations.

        1. Jim……is he still a special assistant to scouting and player development or is he gone —— gone?

          1. Almaraz stepped down due to personal reasons in 2019 taking a position that required less travel. He has, I believe, a special needs child. When his contract was up, he left the organization and was immediately scooped up by another. Regardless of the opinions among commenters here, Almaraz is considered within the industry to be “one of the most prolific talent evaluators in baseball”. I’m not sure which organization he is with, Miami and Houston come to mind, but I’m not 100% sure.

            Everyone that the Phillies fire or just don’t rehire ends up with another team – Ruben Amaro, Matt Klentak (MIL?), Gabe Kapler (SF), Brian Minniti, Josh Bonifay (TEX), Joe Jordan (ATL), … Maybe it’s not the people but the organization that is the problem.

            1. I separate out GMs from managers. From the standpoint of the whole organization, the GM is a far more important position.

              As for our prior GMs going elsewhere, yeah, it’s an industry where guys know each other and can almost always get another job but one (Amaro) was so poorly regarded he had to go from the front office to the field. Wade got another job, but it didn’t go so well (I mean, he was okay, but he was sort of average-ish, as he was here) and he was fired. Klentak has a much lower level job but, over time, it wouldn’t surprise me if he learned a lot and actually got another GM job in say, 7-10 years and was pretty good. He made his share of mistakes, but he was not in the best situation in terms of guidance (MacPhail – I still ask myself, what the hell did he do?) or farm system support.

              As for Johnny, I don’t agree with his drafting philosophy at all and believe he just was not good at that job. Maybe he has another skillset that works for a different job.

    2. Dan ….the Braves probably do not have any positions left in the field for young prospects to coem up and fill.
      Harris and Grissom from last year are projected for CF and maybe shortstop respectively…..Riley, Albies, Olson, Acuna and Murphy are all locked in their positions also.
      So leaves LF…..and probably a pitcher or two

      1. Just because there’s no spots right now doesn’t mean anything. Don’t forget why Harris and Grissom got promoted to begin with; injury.

        Never know when a player will get hurt or under-perform enough to warrant a replacement. And when they do, the Braves will call up a player who inexplicably knows Jobu’s favorite type of rum and cigar.

        1. Correct…injuries happen all the time.
          And they do seem to have a knack of having a very qualified young replacement ready to step in.
          Phillies on those rare occasions in the past have had some of those unexpected surprises….for example, Kyle Kendrick jumping into the rotation from double-AA. Unfortunately it does not happen as often as when the Braves go through that experience.

          1. Yeah, and doesn’t it tell you everything that our guy when players were injured was the very definition of a borderline #5 starter and the Braves guys were, essentially, instant first division regulars/stars – 4-6 WAR type players. And let’s think about it, when was the last time we produced a 4-6 WAR position player? And I don’t mean a guy who could become a 4-6 WAR player – I mean a guy who actually plays to that level. We had Odubel but he both couldn’t sustain that performance and really was never really our prospect (Rule 5 pick) – before that, I think maybe you have to go back to Chase Utley or Ryan Howard which was like 17 years ago. Think about how many 4-6 WAR players the Braves and Dodgers have produced during that time. Or maybe don’t – it will give you a headache.

            1. Correct….there is no denying, the Phillies have come up short in that area for the last few decades.
              Then there is the argument, for all the greatness in prospect fruition and production that the Dodgers and Braves have had….they along with the Phillies all have just one ring apiece over the last 15 years.
              Then you look at the Giants …three rings over a 5 year period (’10, ’12, ’14) and not much before or after…and in the middle they even had one below .500 season in 2013….they had the right combination going for them in those other years.

            2. I know, but, in baseball there’s so much random variation, it’s hard to harshly judge a team that gets to or close to the WS but doesn’t get as many championships as you might think they would.

              Baseball is just a different beast than the NBA (the team with the most and best superstars generally wins) or the NFL (the team with the best quarterback usually wins) where the championship outcome definitely less random (nothing is less random than the NBA – the best team wins like 60-70 percent of the time).

              That said, there was something about that Giants team and it started with Bumgarner and Posey.

  36. Thomson quoted in Inquirer this morning that the pitching plan for 2023 includes parts of the season with a 6-man rotation.

    Take a bow, Hinkie.

    1. If you think about it, this approach really does make sense if they are planning to put Painter in the rotation. It reduces Painter’s innings and reduces wear and tear on Wheeler (who was very iffy last year as far as his health is concerned) and Nola. The hope is to have fresh starters ready for the playoffs when they will need to be at their best. Also, it will allow the Phillies to have a few arms ready for long relief stints in the playoffs – something that could be very valuable. It’s hard to know who they would use as the 4th starter in the playoffs, but if it’s Painter, that would be a very good sign.

      I think, this year, DD has not only upgraded the offense with the Turner acquisition, but I think the pitching staff has a chance to be dominant and the bullpen, which was decent last year, has a chance to be deep and overwhelming. I have my criticisms of DD, but, on the whole, he really knows what he is doing and is excellent at putting together a ball club that has a chance to win it all while still having the pieces in place for future years. You can’t ask for too much more than that from your GM (although we will!! LOL).

    2. There will inevitably be times in the season to go to a 6 man rotation (primarily to limit innings) but it won’t last long, and it certainly won’t happen to start the season, which was what the original argument was about.

      If Nola is showcasing himself for FA, he wants all the starts he can get to build up his WAR. And the Phillies will readily give it to him if he can handle it.

      1. I have no idea what argument you are referring to. Maybe it was with someone else. I have always thought/posted Dombrowski would use a 6 man rotation for (at least) parts of the 2023 season.

        1. Let me be clear, the Phillies will use a 6 man rotation at some point during the season, but not for long stretches. They will do this almost every year, usually in the second half of the season for whatever reason.

          What they won’t do is go to a 6 man rotation full time, and they won’t do it when the season starts because in general, the starting pitchers will be on pitch counts anyways and the relievers will be leaned on early and often.

          1. Technically speaking…….even a day/night double-header could be intertwined….. morphing into a brief 6-man rotation.

  37. Just reading Steve Potter’s blog and a name came up that I forgot about but might be a dark horse for a roster spot. Scott Kingery could be our supersub or could share 2b with Stott, like the 1993 job sharing with Morandini and Duncan.

    1. But Kingery hasn’t even hit in AAA. Last year Kingery hit .230 in AAA as a 28 year old with virtually no power. It’s hard to see a path forward for him that includes the major leagues unless he shows massive and unexpected improvement this year. I wouldn’t bet much on it.

    2. I’m not sure why there is so much love for Scott Kingery. He had 1 starter level year in 2019 (2.5 WAR) and then he fell off a cliff. His career WAR is 0.5. He just can’t hit. He’s still in the Phillies system only because of his contract.

  38. I would be very happy for Kingery, but I don’t see where that miracle is coming from. As catch just said, let him hit at LHV first. I think it’s Jake Cave, although I would have liked Duvall or Pham, and would look at Josh Harrison, but maybe Cave can do the job. I just don’t know, but the Vierling hole may not be a huge one to fill, but it is still one that has some significance.

    1. I think Kingerys issues come from a change in hitting stance/posture/style. If they straighten out his issues back to a productive hitter I could see him being added when they move Harper to 60 day IL. But he would have to out perform many others to be considered.

  39. What Kingery has going for him is that he can play 6 positions on the field. As far as the Phillies going with a “six man rotation”, what it means is that they will have the occasional “bullpen game” and most of us detest bullpen games.

    1. On Kingery – yeah, he can, but he can’t hit. Sosa is a better infielder (and a better hitter) and Varsho should be fine in the outfield and about as good as Kingery.

      On the six man rotation – I don’t think they mean they are going to plan to have bullpen games. At least that’s not how I interpreted that statement.

    1. Yes…that was interesting.
      All those great sliding catches as his heading was to the RF foul line were then, pretty routine for him…..piece of cake.

  40. Dave Dombrowski gave WIP about 20 minutes of his time on Thursday. You can hear the interview by clicking this ➡ https://omny.fm/shows/joe-decamara-jon-ritchie/dave-dombrowski-talks-phillies

    Among the highlights:

    ◾ Bryce Harper still expected back by the All-Star break
    ◾ Different guys will DH
    ◾ Non-committal on who will lead off
    ◾ Could still pick up a backup CFer during the spring
    ◾ Andrew Painter has a realistic chance to start the season in Phillies rotation

    1. I have mixed feelings about Painter starting the season in the majors.

      First, if there’s any developmental advantage to him spending even a month or two in the minors, I would do it. We want him to be fully ready to excel in the big leagues when he gets there.

      Second, people keep pointing to DD’s track record of promoting very young starting pitchers to the big leagues. One thing that sticks out about these pitchers is that all of them had much shorter big league careers than one would have expected and these guys were all essentially cooked by their late 20s or early 30s – so it’s a bit scary. This is consistent with Bill James’ theory that you really don’t want to give younger pitchers a big work load until they are about 25 or so. Andrew Painter has generational ability – I want him to be put in a position to optimize his career.

      On the other hand, as far as him being vulnerable as a younger pitcher, if there’s anything positive that’s happened in the last 15-20 years it’s that organizations are very careful with their pitchers and generally don’t ruin their arms anymore. I am sure they will treat Painter as the valuable prize that he is and will monitor his pitches and innings carefully and deliberately (as they should!).

      And, if Painter has the ability I think he has, I think he will be fine going right to the big leagues and continuing his development in Philly where he will be seen by the organization’s best (one would presume) pitching coach and developmental people. He also seems to be mature enough to handle it and will be joined by his other minor league pitching buddies pretty soon after (I think Abel and McGarry also have a good chance to pitch in the big leagues this year).

    2. I don’t agree with rushing Painter to the bigs. There is no doubt that he’s going to be on an innings limit for 2023. He threw 103.2 innings in 2022. A best guess is that he’s going to be around 150 innings for 2023, and that’s probably on the high end. What’s the better play here, starting him in April and shutting him down in August, or having him up in June and having him available for the playoffs? I’m taking the latter.

      1. Guru – if that’s your concern, I wouldn’t worry about it. If they are promoting Painter to the big leagues, I would be shocked if they weren’t managing his innings in a way where he would be available the entire post-season. They are not the Washington Nationals. If he’s here, they will use him when they need him and not shut him down in September, I can almost guarantee that.

        1. Then the math doesn’t add up. Suarez got 29 starts last season. If Painter gets 29 starts * 5 innings (that’ll also tax the bullpen but that’s another story) will give you 145 innings and that’s before the playoffs. He would be close to his innings limit.

          I’m pretty sure we don’t want to give Painter 170.2 innings. Why this particular number? That’s what a 20 year old Rick Porcello threw his rookie year when DD was the GM.

          1. I would hope they don’t just plug him in at #5, but, rather, use him sparingly the first half of the season, so he could start near the end of the year. But who knows? And, yes, I think we would all be upset if he threw 170 innings this year.

  41. Spot on Catch……..I see no need to rush this guy. Besides, having seen him a few times, he has some things he can work on at Lehigh Valley.

    1. Just so everyone knows. I spent a lot of time watching Painter, Abel and McGarry last year on MilbTV (if you love the minors, get it! You can see almost all the games on tape whenever you want) and I saw McGarry in person. In terms of pure stuff, oddly enough, Painter really did not stand out among the three. McGarry had the best stuff of the three and it was roughly a wash between Painter and Abel. Yes, you read that right, the Phillies have two other starting pitchers who, last year, had stuff about as good or better than the number one righty starter prospect in baseball. For context, the only other righty starter in our system that I could possibly say that about in the last twenty years was Sixto Sanchez (and he never made AA with the Phillies) – that’s it. When he was in the minors Carrasco’s pure stuff was not as good as any of these three guys (although he hit another gear after years with Cleveland). Pretty amazing, huh?

      But there are critical differences among these three players. First, control, command and consistency. Painter blows the other two away in all three of these measures (especially McGarry, who can be wild). He puts the ball where he wants pretty much all the time. Second, he’s younger than Abel and much younger than McGarry, so there’s more upside and more time for him to learn, progress, gain velocity and master his pitches. I get the sense that Painter is just a different beast who (like Jalen Hurts in football) masters things so quickly that he could look complete different (in a good way) this year.

      Just a few thoughts.

  42. My feeling is that I want him for the end of the season and the Playoffs. If him starting out of ST hinders that in any way, I want nothing to do with it. We can roll with Falter and/or Sanchez. I find it very hard to believe that he will not have some type of innings restrictions, and I do not want them wasted early. I also don’t want him only going 3 innings up here and using a piggy back plan. Let that happen in LHV. When he is ready to pitch every 5th day and able to go 6/7 innings, only then do I want to see him up here.

  43. FYI – DD let it be known they want to sign Nola to an extension, which, to me, makes a world of good sense. I am sure they will try to do that as soon as possible, if Nola’s camp is entertaining offers.

  44. I’ve taken Dave Dombrowski at his word since the middle of last season when he first mentioned Painter (and Abel & McGarry) as possibilities to start the 2023 season in the Phillies rotation. That does not mean Painter will get 29 starts. That’s one of the reasons why the team will use a 6-man rotation for parts of the season. I don’t get the idea of waiting until June to bring Andrew Painter up to the big club. Are you suggesting he throw in AAA in April and May? All IPs (both MiLB & MLB) count towards the kid’s season total. Why waste bullets at LHV if Painter proves he’s ready in spring training?
    IMO, a realistic game plan for Andrew Painter (provided he shows he’s ready in March) is 24 starts (one start per week) as a Phillie beginning in April @ ~5 innings per start. That would put him at ~120 IP heading into the postseason.
    Again … all of this hinges on how Painter looks in preseason.

    1. This is not ideal for the relievers. If there’s a 6 man rotation, then there’s only 7 relievers, and they need to get 4 innings every time Painter starts. And it’s not like the other 5 starters are throwing complete games either. So there’s pressure on the other starters to go deep into games to help the relievers. And you don’t want some of those relievers (Kimbrel, Dominguez) to go multiple innings. The relievers are going to get worn out fast.

      If Painter goes to AAA, the Phillies can really baby him. He can pitch once a week, 3 innings to start. Ramp him up to slowly to 5 innings, and then see if the Phillies need him or not.

      1. You brought up Ranger Suarez earlier. You realize Ranger averaged 5.1 IP per start last season. The BP (which was a lot less deep than the current one) didn’t collapse under the stress of Ranger’s workload per start.
        Nick Nelson, Christopher Sanchez, Yunior Marte, and Michael Plassmeyer can all throw multiple innings. They all have MiLB options, and can be shuttled up and down. Hey … the 6-man rotation isn’t just a Phillies thing. Multiple clubs will use it. That’s where (a lot of) MLB is headed.

        1. Unless MLB removes the stipulation of 13 pitchers, the 6 man rotation is NOT where we’re headed. The Rays essentially went with a 4 man rotation (and 9 relievers) and had a bunch of them do starters.

          Shuttling pitches back and forth may sound great, but it rarely works out. You’re assuming all of these relievers are effective and they are going down for rest. All you need is a couple of starters and/or relievers to struggle and you’ll see what happens with a 7 man bullpen.

    2. Hinkie……one down side of having Painter only start once a week , that may alter the other starters in their routines. Pitchers seem to like a set routine between starts. Then there can be a few unexpected rain postponements along the way.

      1. I think starting pitchers almost always do better on more rest. If I recall last year, the numbers on Nola and Wheeler pitching with extra rest were really favorable. I am not worried about the other starters, more about what the program would be for Painter to get regular work while not getting burned out. I am not suggesting he’s some delicate flower, but you want to give this guy the best chance to succeed. He may be our best prospect since Cole Hamels and that’s saying something.

        1. Understand the extra day rest theory as it goes…..but, their routines between starts will have to be adjusted.
          Most pitchers are not as flexible in their schedules once the regular season starts.

        2. Concerning days of rest between starts:
          4 days rest….35-39
          5 days rest…..38-18
          6+ days rest….5-6
          4 days…..44-21
          5 days……18-26
          6+ days…..12-10

          Nola prefers the extra day it appears…Wheeler , otoh, seems to fare less on more than 4 days rest.

          1. Forget about records, it’s not a great stat – what are their respective ERAs and Whips? And, by the way, what was last year? Wheeler struggled with velocity on short rest last year as I recall.

            1. Nola:
              4 days….4.26…..1.2
              5 days…3.04……1.0
              6 days….3.19……1.0
              4 days….3.14…..1.1
              5 days…..3.66….1.3
              6 days…..3.77…..1.2
              …still correlates to the fact…Nola pitches better on more than 4 days rest and Wheeler tends to be the opposite.

            2. And you were correct for Wheeler in 2022…he pitched better on more than 4 days rest.
              4 days…3.64…….1.09
              5 days…2.57…….1.1
              6 days….1.67…..0.63

      2. Is one start per week a bad thing, Romus (especially if the young pitchers turn out to be anything near what they project to be)?
        Aaron Nola, historically, is more effective on 5 days rest than 4 days rest. Zack Wheeler led the league in IP in 2021. He followed that up with multiple starts missed in 2022 with a dead arm. The 6 man rotation is the future. They already use it in the NPB.

        1. Hinkie…I am not leaning either way on 6 vs 5 man rotations.
          I think it would be wise to have Painter pitch on a regular 5 days rest period (6-man rotation).and not have him scheduled for one particular day each week.

  45. I agree completely with Hinkie about the best way to handle Painter this season. I’ve seen him in person, and he is easily the best Phillies’ pitching prospect since Hamels. You have to see him in person to fully appreciate how special he is. It just makes no sense to waste his innings/talent in AA or AAA games when he can dominate in the majors this year. And he will dominate there.

  46. I’m in the “don’t rush him” crowd. I do believe he has things to work on and would benefit from a little more minor league time. As for the comments about Ranger and only throwing 5.1 innings per start last year, I expect that number to go up this year. He is going through his own year over year innings increase plan and was pulled early last year often. That shouldn’t be the case this year. Plus I think Falter has earned a chance to make some starts on April this year before he possibly becomes a swing man.
    These are really small issues we’re discussing in terms of the 26 man roster which is very exciting.
    Just booked my spring training trip! Jim – I’ll definitely say hello while I’m there.

  47. Marlins trade Pablo Lopez to Twins for Luis Arraez. When was the last time a batting champ was traded that offseason?

    1. I know of two…maybe more.
      Rod Carew and Bill Madlock were both traded of season after winning the previous year.

    2. Assuming the Marlins have a ton of pitching depth, that’s a nice little trade for them. Arraez was going to play first for the Twins, which made no sense whatsoever when he can still play second and play it pretty well. Chalk one up for Kim Ng (it’s so cool she’s the GM – that was NOT an easy wall to scale for her or any woman).

      1. Just saw….Ng said that All-Star Jazz Chisholm Jr. will move from second to center field. Chisholm, who’s never played in the OF at the major-league level, is intrigued about the switch and that the team has contemplated it for a while. Jean Segura is expected to man third base.

  48. 6 man rotation for me. Would reconsider Wheelers starts if he continues to struggle on longer rest.
    No pitcher goes past 6 innings for vast majority of games . Let the bullpen handle the last 12 outs. Make BP team A & BP team B. Rotate them. That’s should spread the innings, keep the guys fresh for the playoffs.
    Bench – I want Rojas or Kingery in there. Don’t care about batting ability. Those guys are needed for late inning defensive replacements. No longer is A Matt Stairs needed, those days are done, at least for the way this team
    Is constructed

  49. I had forgotten Romus, so I looked it up. In addition to the 2 you named, Harvey Kuenn, Pete Runnels, Ferris Fain, and Jimmie Foxx, who was traded after winning the Triple Crown for the A’s

    1. OK…..so there were a total of 6 trades…not as many as I thought.
      Also, Harvey Kuenn was traded for Rocky Colavito ( I liked him as an Indian)
      The odd thing about that trade….Kuenn won the batting title and Colavito won the HR title the season before they were traded for each other.

      1. Ahhhhhh………..Rocky, Bob Lemon, Early Winn, Herb Score (never the same after taking one off the noggin), Mike Garcia, Gene Woodling, Vic Wertz, Hal Newhouser, Larry Doby, Sal Maglie, Jim Hegan, Mike Garcia they were my childhood team.

        1. There you go….you got it,
          ….my team as a kid was both Yankees and Phillies…..but liked some of those Indians…and do not forget the original Tito Francona.

  50. Arraez is a singles hitter and a below average defender. The Fish will play him, most likely at first base. Chisolm will be at 2B and Segura at third. That leaves Wendle to play SS. I don’t think the Marlins will be a very good defensive team.

      1. If I’m dealing Pablo Lopez, I would have targeted a run producing bat. Don’t understand that trade for the Marlins.

        1. Power is expensive. Marlins look like they are going to try to create offense using contact hitters and reducing strikeouts. Issue with the deal is they are sacrificing defense and speed for contact.

        2. Disagree – I think it’s brilliant for a few reasons. First of all Arreaz was a 4.4 WAR player with a 130 OPS+ (wow! Exactly the same as Kyle Schwarber) player last year – this guy can really hit, does not strike out and has great positional flexibility. He is also young and may develop a bit more power.

          Finally, in an era of extreme strikeout pitchers, I think the good contact hitter who does not strikeout has some added value – perhaps a lot of added value.

          I love this trade for the Marlins.

        3. The Marlins have a lot of pitching and went after probably the best inexpensive hitter on the market. I think it makes total sense from that perspective. Pretty sure most of their good prospects are either pitchers or hitters at the lower levels of the minors, so they dealt from a strength to address a weakness.

  51. State of division? I look at the NL East and see no 100 win team, due primarily to the competition. I believe Miami will vie for 3rd place, perhaps a .500+ record, very few games (if any) behind the NYM. The Braves and Phillies will finish 1-2, although I can’t say with certainty which takes the division. The key to the Phils success this season will be how much they improve definitely. The pen is strong. The lineup is solid, especially if Nicky Castles rebounds and Bryce returns sooner than expected. And possibly the best rotation, considering age and Nola’s in his contract year.

    1. mark…you may be correct on the fact no team will win 100 in the NL-East.
      But remember….each team in a division now only plays each other 13 vs 19 times.
      So the other divisions’ strengths are also to be factored into the equation for total wins.
      I do think Bryce could return to bat earlier than the all-star break…..though it may only be around the beginning of July/4th of July timeframe.

      1. Marlins could have winning record along with Mets, Phils, Braves. Better chance now less games with each other beating each other up.

        1. Pat Burrell looks young because (I’m pretty certain) that pic was from an Eagles game during the Andy Reid era.

            1. Not just the timing, but the Jersey numbers don’t mix. These guys have how many millions? …. And they are wearing McNabb and Ty Detmer or a Riley Cooper jersey? Definitely dated. No way they don’t pick up a Hurts, Kelsey, or another top player.

            2. Phillies were two winning games away from a ring……now, another Philly team is two games away from a ring.

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