Welcome to the first Philadelphia Phillies ICYMI Monday post of the 2018-19 off-season.
Free Agency Under Way:
Free agency is under way and the phans are just a bit anxious for the Phillies to make a move.
Manny Machado and Bryce Harper are the two biggest non-pitching prizes to be had for the teams that have the $$$ and the intangibles that would lead either of these guys to make a deal. This may very well not happen as quickly as some would like because each player and their dueling agents Dan Lozano and Scott Boras respectively will be in no hurry. Both will want to see what the other gets before committing themselves. The Winter Meetings 12/9-12/13 may be the beginning of the end for these and many other deals.
As of this posting only a few FA’s have resigned with their own teams, much less gone elsewhere.
On the Phillies front, the only move so far was to outright IF/OF Pedro Florimon, who was one of 12 players eligible for salary arbitration, to AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. He then chose to become a FA instead. More on SA in later posts as the Jan. 11 deadline for teams and arbitration-eligible players to submit 2019 salary figures approaches.
Meanwhile the Phillies have many other needs, another starting P, another solid bat in the lineup, and possibly a closer type.
Phillies GM Matt Klentak addressed this at the GM meetings this past week in Carlsbad, Calif.
“We’re not going to forgo opportunities early in the offseason because we’re waiting on something else,” Klentak said “If there are good opportunities for us to improve our club now or in the coming weeks or months that make sense for us, we will do it.”
BTW, if you are looking for rumors, you have come to the wrong blog as I do not play that game, nor do I like, RT, or share them on the interwebs. My feelings on this have been stated on those channels often. As a TV cop was once purported to say – Just the facts, ma’m, just the facts – but even that is in dispute.
Only four Phils are free agents, LHP Aaron Loup, C Wilson Ramos, IF Asdrubal Cabrera and OF Jose Bautista. All four filed for FA the day after the WS ended.
Of those, Ramos may be the only player the Phillies would have any interest in. This will come down to how much they believe in Jorge Alfaro long term, and whether Ramos would accept a back-up role at this point in his career.
Today at 5 PM is the deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offers.
The team did make one move this past Tuesday on the coaching front. They named Paco Figueroa as their OF/base running coach. Previously he was the Los Angles Dodgers’ MiLB hitting coordinator.
Awards and Honors Watch:
This past week it was announced that RHP Aaron Nola is a finalist, finishing in the top three, for the Cy Young award to be given out on Wednesday 11/14. Nola went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA in 33 starts, amassing 224 K’s in 212.3 innings in 2018. If he won he would become the only Phillies P to come through their system to earn that honor.
Also this week we learned that beloved Philles Manager Charlie Manuel would be one of ten players, managers and front office types on the Today’s Game Era ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The others are Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Lou Piniella, Lee Smith and George Steinbrenner. A 16-member Hall of Fame-appointed electorate will vote on those 10 on Dec. 9 at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.
The next important date ahead of the winter meetings is 11/20 which is the date teams must add eligible minor leaguers to the 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. We will detail who the Phils will look at in our next post as well as any moves the team may make this week.