Philadelphia Phillies – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-11-13T14:01:50Z WordPress TC Zencka <![CDATA[Phillies Looking To Move Carlos Santana]]> 2018-11-12T15:33:54Z 2018-11-12T15:33:54Z
  • Rosenthal quotes a rival executive who says the Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana. If they could move off the two years and more than $35MM owed to Santana, the Phils would love to move Rhys Hoskins back to first, since he recorded an unsightly -24 DRS in left field last season. Adam Dunn is the only left fielder to record less defensive runs saved in a single season since 2003, when Sports Info Solutions introduced the data. For Santana’s part, he’s been decent defensively at first over the last few seasons with the Indians and Phillies, even managing 1 DRS in 119 innings at third for the Phils last year. Still, he’s probably more of an asset to an American League team where he could cycle in and out of the designated hitter slot.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Early Rumors On The Bryce Harper Market]]> 2018-11-08T04:44:14Z 2018-11-08T04:38:39Z Bryce Harper’s free agency — or, as agent Scott Boras termed at the GM Meetings today, “Harper’s Bazaar” — will be one of the most fascinating storylines the 2018-19 offseason has to offer. Boras has already made clear that he’ll be marketing Harper as a future Hall of Famer, given that the few players who’ve reached Harper’s level of production prior to the age of 26 are virtually all enshrined in Cooperstown. Boras doubled down on that thinking today when holding court with upwards of 100 reporters (link, with video, via SNY’s Scott Thompson).

    Boras tabbed Harper as a “generational” and “iconic” player — citing the Nationals’ stark increase in attendance, television ratings and overall franchise value since Harper joined the team. While Harper’s presence on the Nats is realistically one of the myriad factors that have effected those changes, those types of milestones could very well carry more weight with some franchise owners than with baseball operations leaders.

    As we settle in for the beginning of Harper’s Bazaar — which, in case you were wondering, is “fashionable,” “elite,” “historical” and “has inspirations that deal with great shoes and great hair,” according to Boras — here’s the latest chatter on his market…

    • Fancred’s Jon Heyman spoke with Boras this morning, and while the agent wouldn’t tip his hand much in terms of total asking price, he did suggest that players with Harper’s level of accolades at this age often play until they’re 40. That, Heyman notes, could indicate that Boras is seeking a deal as long as 14 years in length for the 26-year-old Harper. The agent also pointed out that the current record average annual value — Zack Greinke’s $34.4MM — went to “a 32-year-old pitcher.” None of that, of course, offers a clear indication as to what Boras is thinking as a viable goal for Harper, though that’s perhaps largely by design. MLBTR estimated a 14-year contract for Harper in our annual Top 50 Free Agents rankings — albeit at a considerably lower annual value than that of Greinke.
    • The Nationals’ reported offer to Harper near the end of the season, said to be valued at around a $300MM guarantee, “wasn’t close” to getting the job done, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Boras spoke today about the immense surplus value the Nats reaped from Harper’s pre-arbitration and arbitration seasons and suggested that comparisons to Giancarlo Stanton’s 13-year, $325MM deal have “nothing to do with Bryce Harper.” While many fans grow weary of Boras’ colorful quotes, it’s also a valid point that an extension signed two years prior to a fellow star-caliber player’s free agency should carry much influence over Harper’s eventual contract. Extensions for Stanton and fellow superstar Jose Altuve ($30MM annual value) were signed without the benefit of open-market bidding, Boras noted, and thus shouldn’t be viewed as comparables when looking at Harper’s earning power.
    • Heyman further tweets that the Nats’ ~$300MM is currently “off the table,” though the team has still not ruled out signing Harper and would welcome the opportunity for further negotiations — which Boras will surely oblige.
    • Both ESPN’s Buster Olney and SNY’s Andy Martino throw cold water on the notion of Harper landing with the Yankees. Olney tweets that a source has “emphatically” told him that Harper to the Yankees is simply “not happening,” while Martino suggests that the Yankees “are not excited enough about Harper” to force the ensuing outfield logjam that would come with signing him (Twitter link, with video).
    • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes that many executives and agents throughout the industry feel that Harper will ultimately land with the Phillies, though that opinion appears largely predicated on a belief that the Yankees (and not the Phillies) will ultimately sign Manny Machado — a scenario that is entirely plausible but is by no means a given at this stage of the offseason. It’s always interesting to hear where the popular industry opinion lies at a given time, though it’s often best taken with a grain of salt; there were similar columns written regarding the Yankees and Eric Hosmer this time a year ago, for instance.
    • The Giants have been an oft-suggested landing spot for Harper over the past several seasons, but Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area cites multiple sources in calling the interest “overblown.” One Giants exec tells Pavlovic that the team is “shocked” to be so frequently connected to Harper, adding that the Giants would only be in play for the outfielder if he “really, really” wanted to be a Giant and spurned larger offers elsewhere.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies Interested In Kikuchi, Kimbrel]]> 2018-11-07T18:59:39Z 2018-11-07T17:20:58Z
  • The Phillies intend to pursue Japanese hurler Yusei Kikuchi, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. It bears noting that the Philadelphia organization is also said to be interested in quite a few other appealing free agent hurlers, but it’s particularly notable that the Phils like Kikuchi after watching him pitch in his native Japan. Per a report from the Japan Times, it seems that Kikuchi’s formal posting will be processed sooner than later.
    • The Phillies intend to pursue Japanese hurler Yusei Kikuchi, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia. It bears noting that the Philadelphia organization is also said to be interested in quite a few other appealing free agent hurlers, but it’s particularly notable that the Phils like Kikuchi after watching him pitch in his native Japan. Per a report from the Japan Times, it seems that Kikuchi’s formal posting will be processed sooner than later.
    • If there are several starters on the menu for the Phillies, it seems they could also play at the upper reaches of the relief market. Morosi tweets that they are at least looking into top available closer Craig Kimbrel. Elsewhere, while a reunion between Kimbrel and the Red Sox can’t be counted out, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe suggests that it does not seem particularly likely, either. The vibe of the post is that the Boston organization is probably not preparing to out-bid the market on the veteran closer. Though Kimbrel would obviously still have appeal at a reasonable price, Cafardo seems to hint at relatively tepid interest. For instance, he writes, “Red Sox officials usually shrug their shoulders when asked about Kimbrel’s future.”
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Market Chatter: White Sox, Zunino, Kimbrel, Cards, Giants, Phils, Yanks]]> 2018-11-06T19:29:22Z 2018-11-06T19:29:22Z What role will the White Sox play in this free agent market? It’s an open question whether the club will come away with any significant players, but it also seems increasingly likely that it will be heavily involved at all levels of the market. MLBTR did not pick the South Siders to land any of the top fifty free agents, but as noted in that post, the club could pursue quite a few of the players listed.’s Jon Morosi even names the White Sox as potential pursuers of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic points out the case for the Sox to spend (subscription link), while Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets that the club is expressing an inclination to “take a step forward now.” Meanwhile, on the other side of town, indications remain that the Cubs will not spend a big chunk of change this winter, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post is the latest to report (Twitter link).

    Clearly, the White Sox are an interesting team to watch. Even if it’s arguably a bit premature for significant investments, it certainly doesn’t hurt that they play in the sport’s worst overall division. Elsewhere …

    • The competition in the AL West seems to be driving the Mariners to sell. It’s unclear as yet how deep the cuts will go, but talks are already opening up. The M’s are chatting with the Rays about catcher Mike Zunino, per Rosenthal (via Twitter). With two years of control remaining, the 27-year-old backstop presents an interesting alternative to the free agent market for catchers. He’s an inconsistent but high-powered offensive performer who is generally seen as a quality defender.
    • The Cardinals and incumbent Red Sox are among the suitors for veteran closer Craig Kimbrel, according to Jon Morosi of Kimbrel is among the players who appear to be candidates to land earlier-than-usual contracts, by Morosi’s reckoning. (He mentions a few possible landing spots for others on his list, though it’s not apparent that the connections are based upon more than his analysis.)
    • Certainly, it seems the motivation is there for the Cardinals to pursue significant players. As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, the St. Louis front office is looking hard at ways to improve. GM Mike Girsch says the team has a competitive roster as things stand, but wants to exit the offseason with “a division-leading roster.” The piece is full of worthwhile reading for Cards fans, particularly those interested in gaining some perspective on the team’s market positioning in relation to Harper and Machado. All told, it seems reasonable not to rule the Cards out as a possible pursuer of any free agent.
    • Manny and Bryce are popular considerations for most teams, of course, even if they won’t realistically be pursued by all that many organizations. The Giants are perhaps a likelier suitor than may be evident from a passing glance, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. While the San Francisco organization struggled last year, has quite a few big contracts on the books, and doesn’t currently have a GM in place, Shea says that this kind of ownership-driven decision could still be pursued.
    • Lost in the hype for those popular young free agents is the never-ending search for pitching. While the rotation was and is a strong suit for the Phillies, that doesn’t mean they can’t improve. Indeed, as Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia writes, it could make sense for the organization to use some trade assets to add a starter — in addition, of course, to pursuing a superstar position player on the open market. Salisbury tabs southpaws Robbie Ray of the Diamondbacks and James Paxton of the Mariners as two particular names to watch.
    • Likewise, as they consider their pitching options, the Yankees will look at the still-developing trade market. Per Heyman, via Twitter, the Yanks have at least some level of interest in the top arms that have newly entered the sphere of trade candidates. New York’s brass will meet with their counterparts with the Indians, who are dangling Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. The Yankees are also said to have some interest in Paxton. Those three are among the game’s better starters, so it’s hardly surprising to hear the connections.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Outright Pedro Florimon]]> 2018-11-02T18:01:43Z 2018-11-02T18:01:43Z The Phillies announced that infielder Pedro Florimon has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He’ll become a free agent in the coming days now that he’s been removed from the 40-man roster.

    Florimon, 31, hit .225/.276/.423 with a pair of homers, six doubles and a triple in 76 plate appearances for the Phils this season. The veteran has seen action at the MLB level in each of the past eight seasons due primarily to his standout glovework at shortstop. Never much of a threat with the bat, Florimon is a career .211/.270/.319 hitter through 867 plate appearances split between the Orioles, Twins, Pirates and Phillies.

    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Phillies Offseason Focused On Big Fish]]> 2018-10-30T17:02:13Z 2018-10-30T17:02:13Z The Phillies have done a good job of avoiding toxic contracts, but they also don’t have much in the way of homegrown stars in the upper levels of the minors, Matt Gelb of the Athletic notes. It seems obvious, then, that the route to improve this offseason is the free agent market, and they have been one of the teams with assumed interest in free agency’s biggest fishes, to wit, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. That said, owner John Middleton once balked at a perceived lack of on-field hustle from former Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis, which would seem at odds with a willingness to go all-in on Machado, given his growing reputation. Generational talents or not, it’s Middleton’s money, and it’ll ultimately be his decision whether or not Machado and Harper are worth the long-term investment. 

    • Regardless of what happens with Machado and Harper, the Phillies do not appear inclined to overreach in the secondary market, per’s Todd Zolecki, specifically as it pertains to their outfield, where in-house options Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera, Roman Quinn, and Aaron Altherr are comparable-to and cheaper-than the middle class of talent available in free agency. GM Matt Klentak also says the Phillies are unlikely to explore the starting pitching market, despite potential interest in upgrading in that area. They are hypothetically interested in a left-handed starter, but Patrick Corbin, the top name on the market, figures to command more money than the Phillies are willing to spend on him. 
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 10/30/18]]> 2018-10-30T14:08:35Z 2018-10-30T13:22:39Z We’ll use this post to catch up on some recent minor moves and track any more that pop up today:

    • The Brewers announced that they’ve inked infielder Jake Hager to a minors pact that includes an invitation to MLB camp. With the news, Hager will again factor on the Milwaukee infield depth chart as camp gets underway. He had his most impressive showing at any level to open the 2018 season, slashing .292/.371/.521 with ten home runs in 257 plate appearances at Double-A Biloxi last year. But Hager’s output slowed after he was bumped up to Triple-A to finish out the year. The 25-year-old has spent most of his time in the minors at shortstop and also has experience at second and third base.
    • First baseman Joey Meneses was released by the Phillies in order to pursue an opportunity in Japan, the club announced. He’ll be signing with the Orix Buffaloes. Meneses, 26, was not on the Philadelphia organization’s 40-man roster and obviously did not factor in its plans. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t shown some impressive skill. After joining the Phillies on a minors pact for the 2018 season, the long-time Braves farmhand picked up International League MVP honors for turning in a stellar campaign in which he slashed .311/.360/.510 with 23 home runs in 536 plate appearances at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies Hire Astros' Josh Bonifay As Farm Director]]> 2018-10-24T22:54:58Z 2018-10-24T22:54:58Z The Phillies are hiring away Astros minor league field coordinator Josh Bonifay as their new farm director, reports Matt Gelb of The Athletic (subscription link). The 40-year-old Bonifay is the son of former Pirates general manager Cam Bonifay (1993-2001) and has spent nearly a decade working as a manager or coach in the Astros’ system with the exception of a 2017 stint as the Rangers’ minor league field coordinator. The Phillies parted ways with previous farm director Joe Jordan and several minor league hitting coaches in September, and Bonifay will be tasked with helping to implement a systemic change in the manner in which data is presented to minor league coaching staffs.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Manny Machado]]> 2018-10-18T19:13:43Z 2018-10-18T19:13:43Z As he continues to play a key role on a big stage for the Dodgers, star infielder Manny Machado is of course also making last impressions in advance of his entry onto the free-agent market. His controversial run through the NLCS has certainly sparked quite a lot of attention. In particular, Machado was fined for dragging his foot and striking the leg of Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar and had some eyebrow-raising comments on his effort level. It is perhaps debatable whether or not those developments — and whatever else may emerge in the postseason — will impact his earning power. After all, Machado has a long record of productivity on the field despite his quirks.

    Here are some notes on these interesting developments:

    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic got the comments from Machado that sparked so much controversy, and they really are something to behold. (Subscription link.) “Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ’Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base,” said Machado. “… That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.” He does perhaps deserve bonus points for his honesty, along with his acknowledgement that he “should … have given it a little more effort.” And Machado does say that it’s “just my mentality when I’m in the game” — presumably, the same ingrained approach that often produces moments of brilliance and generally excellent results. Still, that line of thinking will certainly be a tough sell for some fans.
    • The outcome of Machado’s free agency will depend in no small part upon the extent to which he’s able to generate strong interest from multiple organizations. Media pressure is perhaps overstated as a causative factor, but at a minimum it can reflect general fan sentiment. It is worth noting, then, that Machado’s recent hijinks have sparked some questioning in some markets. Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch argues the Cardinals should “steer clear of the Machado suspense and nonsense.” Meanwhile, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia says that these public developments dovetail with other concerns from some in the Phillies organization, in addition to posing problems given the Philly fanbase’s predilection for lunchpail-toting athletes.
    • Of course, the Phillies baseball ops department includes several key people who have prior experience with Machado in Baltimore — the only place he had played until the July swap that sent him to Los Angeles. Orioles coach Bobby Dickerson discussed his interesting relationship with Machado with Dan Connelly of The Athletic (subscription link). You’ll obviously want to read the whole piece for all his thoughts, but Dickerson interestingly echoes Machado’s own self-awareness of his suboptimal traits. The coach says that Machado is “a good guy” with “a good heart,” at core, even if “Swaggy Machado” is often the impression given to opponents and the general public.
    • The Yankees have long been tabbed as a possible pursuer of Machado. To an extent, speculation waned with the rise of several talented infielders, but the recent Tommy John surgery performed on shortstop Didi Gregorius seemingly increases the merit of a fit. Indeed, per Jon Heyman of Fancred, there is real interest on behalf of the Yanks — though the precise extent of that may not quite be clear. As Heyman emphasizes, and has reported previously, there’s a sense also in some quarters that Machado would like to land in New York.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies May Have Released Jack Zoellner Had O's Not Traded For Him]]> 2018-10-14T17:12:09Z 2018-10-14T17:12:09Z
  • The Orioles made an eyebrow-raising move in August when they traded $750K in international money to the Phillies for minor league first baseman Jack Zoellner. It turns out the Phillies may have released Zoellner had they not found a taker for him, according to Kubatko. Per Kubatko, Philly was “far less enthusiastic about Zoellner” than Baltimore’s front office, which was then led by since-fired GM Dan Duquette. Zoellner doesn’t rank among Baltimore’s top 30 prospects at, and, as Kubatko notes, didn’t stand out in Rookie ball from 2017-18 despite being old for the level.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Players Electing Free Agency]]> 2018-10-09T00:20:27Z 2018-10-09T00:20:27Z Quite a few players will hit the open market this fall, and they’ll do so by way of varying mechanisms. The end of the regular season triggered a recent wave of free agents, consisting of a certain subset of players — namely, those who were outrighted from 40-man rosters during the season and accepted minor-league assignments at that time despite having the right to elect free agency. Players in that situation are entitled instead to hit the open market at season’s end, if they were not added back to the 40-man roster in the meantime.

    As conveyed by Matt Eddy of Baseball America, who also covers quite a few other minor moves, these players have now elected free agency:

    Athletics: RHP Raul Alcantara, LHP Danny Coulombe

    Blue Jays: RHP Mike Hauschild, INF/OF Darnell Sweeney

    Braves: LHP Rex Brothers, RHP Miguel Socolovich

    Cardinals: LHP Tyler Lyons

    Indians: RHP Evan Marshall, RHP Alexi Ogando

    Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman, LHP Ross Detwiler, RHP Mike Morin, INF Zach Vincej

    Marlins: OF JB Shuck

    Mets: RHP Chris Beck, OF Bryce Brentz, RHP Scott Copeland, OF Matt den Dekker, INF Ty Kelly

    Nationals: LHP Tommy Milone, OF Moises Sierra, RHP Carlos Torres

    Orioles: RHP Jhan Marinez, INF Luis Sardinas

    Padres: OF Matt Szczur

    Phillies: INF Trevor Plouffe

    Pirates: LHP Buddy Boshers, RHP Casey Sadler, RHP A.J. Schugel

    Rangers: C Juan Centeno, LHP Anthony Gose, RHP Drew Hutchison, INF Tommy Joseph, RHP Chris Rowley

    Rays: INF Brandon Snyder, RHP Ryan Weber

    Reds: C Tim Federowicz, RHP Kevin Quackenbush

    Tigers: INF Dixon Machado, RHP Jacob Turner

    White Sox: RHP Tyler Danish

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[MacPhail On Free Agency, Evaluating 2018 Phillies]]> 2018-10-05T14:26:58Z 2018-10-05T14:26:58Z
  • Phillies president Andy MacPhail met with the media earlier this week, discussing a number of topics ranging from potential free-agent acquisitions to the team’s disappointing finish (link via Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer). Phils fans have long been clamoring for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to head to the city of brotherly love, and while MacPhail said he expects the team’s payroll to trend closer to its pre-rebuild heights, when the Phillies had one of baseball’s five highest payrolls, he also spoke somewhat cautiously about being too aggressive in the market. “I guess if you were to invest all you had on one star-type player, then that would be sort of an acknowledgment that you think you may be one player away,” said MacPhail. “Is that really going to solve the problems that I articulated earlier — the defense, playing within our division better, being more consistent, striking out less?” MacPhail did suggest that the Phils will be “active” in free agency but suggested that the inconsistent performance of the 2018 Phillies also makes it difficult to determine exactly how good the roster is, as currently constructed.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[NL East Notes: Hoskins, Phillies, Mets, Marlins]]> 2018-10-02T14:42:56Z 2018-10-02T14:42:56Z Rhys Hoskins’ move from first base to left field in 2018 didn’t exactly prove to be smooth, as the young slugger turned in one of the worst statistical seasons of any outfielder in baseball (-24 Defensive Runs Saved, -19 Outs Above Average, -11.3 Ultimate Zone Rating). Hoskins has already spoken about a desire to continue to improve, though he did admit when asked by Matt Breen of that he’d prefer to be back at first base in an ideal world. Hoskins emphasized that he’s told both GM Matt Klentak and manager Gabe Kapler that he’ll play wherever he’s asked but spoke about the comfort level he feels at first base as opposed to in the outfield.

    In his season-end press conference, Klentak acknowledged that moving Hoskins back to first base is “something we’ve thought a lot about,” Breen writes, though clearly there are numerous moving parts in that scenario. The Phils experimented with Carlos Santana at third base in September, though he comes with his own defensive shortcomings there, and that shift would render Maikel Franco without a spot. Expected offseason pursuits of marquee free agents Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado also figure to factor into the calculus. Though there are dozens of roads the Phils could take to get there, Klentak stressed that “there is no question” that the team needs to improve its defense.

    More from the division…

    • With the offseason upon the Phillies, the focus in Philadelphia will shift from Kapler to Klentak, writes Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. It’ll be a pivotal winter for Klentak’s future in the organization, he notes, as there’ll be pressure to generate more success with this offseason’s group of free agents than there was with last year’s crop. Klentak himself spoke about the performance of last year’s group of free agents, noting that Jake Arrieta, Carlos Santana, Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter were fairly productive on the whole — especially relative to other free-agent signings throughout the league. Without improvement, Brookover, adds, the GM could find himself on the hot seat. It’s an interesting example of the importance of sequencing over the course of a given season; in a vacuum, a 14-win improvement for the Phillies looks like a clear victory. And had the team started poorly or even found a more evenly paced route to an 80-82 finish, the narrative would likely be different. Instead, their late collapse adds sizable pressure to improve even when the year-over-year win total has already generally trended in the right direction.
    • Braves assistant general manager Perry Minasian is of interest to the Mets as they continue to compile a list of GM candidates, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post, though there are not yet any firm indications that the Mets have asked permission to interview him. Puma adds that former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington is a “strong possibility” to receive an interview, as has previously been suggested, though the timing remains unclear. Initial interviews will be conducted by assistant GM John Ricco and COO Jeff Wilpon, Puma notes, with Fred Wilpon unlikely to be heavily involved in the process until finalists have been selected.
    • The 2019 season will have a different feel for the Marlins than the 2018 season, writes Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Namely, while the Fish were content to let some players develop at the big league level this past season, there will be more expectations for immediate results next season. Rule 5 picks Elieser Hernandez and Brett Graves will likely spend more time in the minors now that they can be optioned, he notes, while players who struggle (as Lewis Brinson did in the Majors this past season) might be sent back down for more seasoning as the team strives to improve its results. “Obviously, we did some things this year where it wasn’t necessary you had to produce to be here,” said manager Don Mattingly. “But moving forward I have the sense that’s going to change. If you don’t produce, it’s not going to be a year where we’ll let you keep developing. At some point, you’re going to have to produce.”
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[East Notes: Phillies, Quinn, Herrera, Yanks, CC, Rays, Jays, Estrada]]> 2018-09-30T03:01:16Z 2018-09-30T03:00:52Z Thanks to the presence of rookie Roman Quinn, Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera has recently shifted from center field to right. It’s unclear whether that alignment will hold up in 2019, but manager Gabe Kapler said Saturday (via Todd Zolecki of that he wants both players to enter next season prepared to handle center. Kapler also suggested that Herrera hasn’t been at top physical condition this season, per Zolecki, saying: “I think he can come into camp in better shape in 2019 than he came in 2018. … This is something that he and I have discussed and will continue to discuss. I think he can be in incredible physical shape. We’ve seen it from him in the past. If you look back a couple years you see a version of him that is fast, athletic, explosive and I think that’s in there and I’m excited about helping him and supporting him to bring that out.”

    Going by fWAR (1.1), this has been a dud of a season for Herrera, who posted between 2.9 and 3.8 in that category from 2015-17. Perhaps Herrera will be an offseason trade candidate, then, though the Phillies would be “selling low” on him, Zolecki points out. He also notes Quinn’s history of injuries could make it all the more difficult to part with Herrera, who’s set to turn 27 in December and has four guaranteed seasons left on the five-year, $30.5MM extension he signed prior to 2017.

    Here’s more from the East Coast…

    • Major League Baseball has issued a five-game suspension to Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia and a three-game ban to Rays right-hander Andrew Kittredge, Daniel Kramer of was among those to report. Both players will serve their suspensions at the beginning of the 2019 season, if they’re upheld through the appeals process. Sabathia was ejected from a win over the Rays on Thursday after throwing at catcher Jesus Sucre, a retaliatory move which served as a response to Kittredge nearly hitting Yankees backstop Austin Romine in the previous half-inning. Sabathia’s ejection may have cost him a significant amount of money, considering he was cruising through five innings and was only two frames away from notching 155 for the season. Had Sabathia reached that mark, he’d have secured a $500K bonus. It’s still possible the 38-year-old will earn that money, though, with George A. King III of the New York Post noting the Yankees could use him for a couple innings Sunday in Boston in a postseason tuneup. However, Sabathia told reporters on Saturday that he’s not interested in doing that (via Erik Boland of Newsday). “Nah, man, the season’s over for me. I’m ready for the lights to come on,” he said.
    • Blue Jays righty Marco Estrada won’t make his scheduled start Sunday on account of a sore back, per Gregor Chisholm of, meaning the pending free agent may have thrown his last pitch as a member of the team. The 35-year-old Estrada, a Blue Jay since 2015, said he’d “love to hear from” the club again and is “comfortable” in Toronto, though he’s not sure whether the club’s interested in re-signing him. Thanks in part to the Jays’ youth movement, not to mention Estrada’s struggles this season, a parting of ways may be in order. Estrada had been a quality starter for the Jays from 2015-17, but he only managed a 5.64 ERA/5.44 FIP over 143 2/3 innings this year.
    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Kapler Not Concerned His Style Will Turn Away Free Agents]]> 2018-09-29T20:43:00Z 2018-09-29T19:51:51Z
  • Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, a polarizing figure long before his managerial debut this season, faces questions surrounding whether or not prospective free agents will play for him, writes Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Kapler’s innovative style – which attaches the shortest of leashes to most starting pitchers, relies heavily on day-to-day matchups, and is subject to change at the most unconventional of times (Kapler removed Scott Kingery for a pinch-runner in the second inning of a mid-September clash against the Marlins) – has drawn the ire of players and fans alike, but the headstrong skipper isn’t concerned that courted stars will be turned off: “I think free agents want to be treated with respect, I think they want to be shot straight, I think they want to know where they stand, and I think they want a voice,” he said. “That’s something that we do better than any other team, and I think that will come through loud and clear during the process.”
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