Now that the Big Game hype is over – I lost Bigly on Team Ruff in the Puppy Bowl – we can focus again on baseball. There was a decent amount of news from the Philadelphia Phillies this week so I will continue my preview of non-roster spring training invitees next week.
Phillies Oldies But Goodies:
The Phillies once again will have an array of alumni as guest instructors this spring. On Tuesday they affirmed that Larry Andersen, Chad Durbin, Wes Helms, Brad Lidge, Charlie Manuel, & Mike Schmidt would serve that role this year. If Schmidt, Manuel, and new hitting coach Matt Stairs can teach kids like Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens even a small amount of what they know about hitting HR’s, we can expect to see balls flying out of Citizens Bank Park at a nice clip in few seasons.
Render Unto Cesar:
Once again the Phillies avoided any arbitration hearings by coming to terms with 2B Cesar Hernandez, as they announced on Friday that it had agreed to a one-year contract worth $2.55 M. The club had offered $2 M, while Hernandez, 26, countered with $2.8 M, so Cesar got a slight edge there.
Hernandez had a good last season hitting .294, 14 2B, 11 3B, 6 HR, 39 RBIs and a .764 OPS in 622 PA, all career highs. Even more importantly his .371 OBP (22nd out of 146 qualified MLB batters) showed he is a viable additional option to lead-off. Hernandez still has three remaining years of arbitration as a Super 2 qualifier, which still makes him a good trade chip as well if the Phillies decide to move a younger player up.
One More Non-Roster Invitee
Also on Friday the Phillies signed OF Chris Coghlan to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training
Coghlan, 31, who was with the Chicago Cubs in 2014-15 and last year traded to the Okland Athletics in February and then was traded back to Chicago in June, finished the season hitting .252 1 HR,, 16 RBIs and a .779 OPS in 128 PA. A LH hitter, in his eight year career Coghlan has a .260 BA, .736 OPS. He also won the NL ROY in 2009.
He has a decent chance to make the bench as a veteran OF, in a competition with Aaron Altherr, Tyler Goeddel, and other non-roster invitee Daniel Nava. Altherr probably has an edge on the others, and I will explore that more when I go over the non-roster OF invitees in a few weeks.
As noted above I will get back to the non-roster invitees preview as with pitchers and catchers reporting a week from today, it would not seem like the Phillies will make many more moves. The Phillies and or Comcast expect to officially announce that John Kruk will be on the announcing team to replace Stairs, at any time, possibly this week.
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