Crash Bag Vol. 42 – It Might be a Little Late

I have promised this Crash Bag a few times now. So I will just post the answers now and stop delaying.

@mweintr: What are the chances the phillies go after Darvish this winter? 2 bad outings in WS? could get for a decent price tag?

I think the chances continue to be low. Given that Cueto and Tanaka have both opted into their contracts, the only two pitchers that could be described as front line starters are Darvish and Jake Arrieta. I think his World Series starts might make a few teams less all in on signing him, but I doubt it really affects his contract. The Phillies certainly have the money to sign Darvish, and unlike Arrieta, Lynn, and Cobb he won’t have any qualifying offer penalties attached. That should be attractive to the Phillies, but it should also be attractive to many teams. I just don’t get the feeling that the Phillies want to be the high bidder on either of the two big pitching contracts.

@g_linwood: @mlbtraderumors made some bold predictions for the Phillies: Tanaka and Chatwood, thoughts on this?

Since this question was asked, Tanaka opted into his contract with the Yankees. MLB Trade Rumors has the Phillies signing Tyler Chatwood for 3 years and $20M. Given the potential upgrade from going from Coors to not-Coors, $6-$7 million a year is not crazy for Chatwood. I don’t see the Phillies giving him that many years. Chatwood for 1-2 year with a team or mutual option makes sense in the Morton, Hellickson, Buchholz role, but I wouldn’t be running out to make it happen.

@MisterZoomer: Serious question: how would you compare the 2017 Phillies to the 2011 Astros?

The 2011 Astros went 56-106 and traded everything of value on their roster. By the end of the year they were one of the worst teams in baseball, both in record and on the field. Despite trade returns for Hunter Pence and Michal Bourn, their farm system was still not great and fairly shallow. The Astros would lose 107 and 111 games the next two years. I think the better comparison would be the 2014 Astros that went 70-92. Here is that roster.

The Astros would make the playoffs the next year (86-76) as Keuchel won the Cy Young, and Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers made the majors. The Phillies would need some amount of luck to replicate that performance, specifically in the middle of the rotation. But they have the offensive pieces to rival what the Astros had in 2015, and Aaron Nola could step into that ace level pitcher role. I don’t know if 86 makes the playoffs for the Phillies next year, but I do think with some upgrades here and there could allow the Phillies to hang around the wild card race.

@JoeLyonsII: In your opinion, what will happen to Freddy and Cesar this off-season? They have to be traded right?

The east part of all of this is that Freddy Galvis should be gone via trade. Galvis is a free agent after the season and with J.P. Crawford now in the majors, the Phillies have his replacement ready to go. Unlike Cesar Hernandez, there is not really a good argument to be made with Galvis that he could be a part of the Phillies future. I don’t know that the Phillies manage to get for him, but I suspect it to be fairly minor given his contract status and monetary cost. I know there is some thought of using him as a utility player, but with a cramped 40 man roster and prospects like Jesmuel Valentin that could fill that role, it is hard to see the Phillies keeping him around to sit on the bench.

The real question facing the Phillies is Hernandez and Scott Kingery. Cesar Hernandez is a good baseball player, and right now the Phillies have three more years of arbitration control on him. Scott Kingery is an exciting prospect. His power is below what he showed this year, and his plate discipline has been a bit loose at times, but he has a good hit tool, usable plus plus speed, and he is a great defender at second. The Phillies could try and temporarily solve the problem by hanging on to both and giving Kingery more time in AAA. Hernandez has shown that he can’t handle positions other than second, but Kingery might be able to fake to third or shortstop, and almost certainly could handle center or left field. This could prompt the Phillies to eventually use him as a super sub, or if Franco continues to not be the answer at third, their everyday third baseman. Ignoring his bat at the position, the idea of using Kingery at third is not an attractive one. His arm is average at best, and while he may be able to use his speed and instincts to have great range at the hot corner, he isn’t going to instantly be a high level defender like Crawford was. It would be a waste of a great defender to move him off of second base, and the Phillies know that. Ideally the Phillies are able to trade Cesar Hernandez for a player that fits their needs (3B or starting pitcher) or the prospects that allow them to fill that need. I think their next option is to try and using Kingery in a package that gets them an elite young player. I do think the Phillies value both players high enough that they aren’t going to move either without it being a clear win for them. Eventually, they will have to make some sort of decision, but they aren’t going to force it.

@KevinEZRQ: Kaplers biggest pro and con as new manager?

The biggest pro for Kapler is that he does not appear to be stuck in old time thoughts. He is open to data, not just for advanced singular metrics like WAR, but for the idea that the more information you have, the better you will do. He also seems to understand you can’t just throw data at players and hope they retain it, you have to meet them in a place where they can understand it. I think is focus on nutrition and player physical well-being is an aspect that is missing from money people in baseball. He also comes from a player development background, which should serve him well with a young roster. He came across a bit awkward in his press conference, and I think some of it is his personality, but I also think he did his research and while the references were forced, he knows how much the Phillies mean to the city.

The biggest con is the unknown. Kapler has not managed in the big leagues. There are some character concerns in that it appears he rubs some people the wrong way. Given that it is all second hand and there is certainly a selection bias in who will talk to reporters, it is hard to know how big of a problem it is. It does appear that while open to new ideas, Kapler is very opinionated and confident in those opinions. Tactically, we assume that he will be fairly forward thinking, but he also hasn’t had to deal with the impact of a tactical decision being smeared through the press after the game. The biggest danger of any managerial hire will be how they mesh in the clubhouse. Pete was pretty good there but he also had a tendency to have favorites and was not above publically throwing players under the bus.

@RobertDalton52: Any relief only prospects to watch? Not starters to be turned relievers. JD Hammer interests me cool name and glasses among good arm

I am going to bypass the three guys who reached the majors late in 2017 in Victor Arano, Yacksel Rios, and Jesen Therrien. So here are some other players to keep an eye on.

  • Jeff Singer (L) – Singer had some control issues in AA and he has a bit of a funky delivery. However, he gets into the mid 90s from the left side and his slider is a decent pitch.
  • Austin Davis (L) – Davis is a big lefty with a fastball that touched 98 this year. He sits a bit lower than that, and he needs work on his secondary pitches. He took a big step forward this year after moving to the bullpen, and more importantly he stayed healthy.
  • Luke Leftwich (R) – Leftwich is a converted starter who saw a tick up in velocity this year as a reliever. He doesn’t have big time stuff, but there might be middle relief upside here.
  • J. D. Hammer (R) – Hammer saw his velocity increase with the Rockies before being traded to the Phillies. He his fastball can reach the mid to high 90s and his slider is interesting.
  • Seth McGarry (R) – McGarry joined the Phillies in the Joaquin Benoit trade. He doesn’t have Hammer’s upside, but he has good velocity and heavy ground ball tendencies.
  • Trevor Bettencourt (R) – Bettencourt is a short righty with a solid fastball and slider. He had a great year and could be a middle reliever.
  • Tyler Gilbert (L) – Gilbert moved to the bullpen this year, and was good vs lefties this year and has some LOOGY upside.
  • Alberto Tirado (R) – After failing as a starter again, Tirado moved back to the bullpen in the middle of the season. An arm injury hurt his stuff and Tirado was more 92-98 with his fastball, but was more below 96. His slider shows plus potential with two plane movement. He has a lot of control problems and struggled to locate any of his pitches. At his best, Tirado should be able to 96-98 touching 100 with a devastating slider, but he needs to improve his control and refind his stuff.

Below Clearwater, most of the relief only players are in small sample size transitions to pro-ball or are in the rotation still. If you want to know more about the prospects in the Williamsport bullpen, you should check out my interview with Mitch Rupert.

@MisterZoomer: Which Sixer would make the best baseball player. Please say Simmons.

On the hitter side at least it is not Ben Simmons. I think baseball and basketball might have the greatest difference in body types from each other. Any hitter over about 6’6”-6’7” is going to have an untenable strike zone. Any pitcher over that height is going have to trouble corralling all of their limbs into pinpoint control. Then you have things like long arms that are an asset on a basketball court, but not necessarily the best at the plate where being short and quick to the baseball can be a real advantage. With that said I think the best baseball player body on the Sixers as a hitter is probably Timothe Luwawu. Listed at 6’6” 200lbs and uber athletic he probably has some level of Aaron Altherr level late 2000s ultra-athletic outfielder with no baseball skills the Phillies loved. I will give Simmons the nod on the pitching mound. He might not need pump gas if he can use his body control and 6’10” frame to deliver the ball close to home plate. There aren’t many pitchers that tall, but at least it would be interesting to see.

@nmarmarou: The Phillies have acquired a bunch of Dodgers prospects over the years. Kapler oversaw those minor leaguers. How have they all planned out?

Kapler was hired by the Dodgers during the 2014 offseason, so we can throw out the Rollins trade and focus on everything since then, which is really just the Utley and Ruiz trades. Both members of the Utley trade John Richy and Darnell Sweeney are out of the organization after regressing. Sweeney got half of Howie Kendrick, so that is kind of decent. For Ruiz the Phillies got Tommy Bergjans and Joey Curletta. Curletta was immediately shipped out for Pat Venditte who had a better year than Curletta. Bergjans is a back end AAA starter/middle reliever. I doubt he ever sees the majors. In other words, we don’t really have a lot to go on here and players who weren’t big time talents to begin with.

@SAKrawczyk: Where do you see Jhailyn Ortiz fitting in? I know its years before we see him, but OF seems a bit full, and he won’t overtake Hoskins at 1b

If Jhailyn Ortiz hits his ceiling, there is no corner outfielder in the system that will be in his way. I think ideally he is in right field because of his arm strength, but I could see him moving to left if there is a better arm in right. I don’t know if he will overtake Hoskins at 1B, but he has better raw tools than Hoskins. Ortiz could also be a trade chip at some point, or he could just utterly bust.

@SAKrawczykI assume Sixto will start in Clearwater, but is it nuts to think he could end up in Reading this season?

Not at all. I could see him on a similar plan to this year where he is on some sort of innings limit early (though probably not as aggressive as this year) and then bumped up a level in the middle of the season to keep the challenges coming. I don’t think it is out of the question that he could be up at some point in 2019 if things go well and the Phillies need that level of arm in the majors. He is absolutely a special talent and to this point as surpassed all challenges put in front of him.


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  1. Andrew R.

    November 07, 2017 07:29 AM

    Darvish does and does not make sense. But the more I think about him, the more I convince myself the Phillies could use him. Darvish-Nola would be an intriguing 1-2. With Darvish in the hill, we would have a greater chance to win 30 games than with some of these kids who have shown nothing. It would be a good way to help attract big fish in next off-season’s market, especially if a couple guys break out.

    And since it is not our money being doled out, why not? We had FIVE YEARS of a crappy, over-paid Ryan Howard on a crappy team. He brought ZERO on field value over his last five years. I think having Darvish for five years would yield something positive.

    He’s the best pitcher available and it will only cost money. Middleton wants to win and is willing to spend. How could this be considered a “bad” move?

    • Romus

      November 07, 2017 09:55 AM

      AndrewR…..if you follow the Cubs rumors….they all point to Theo making a big push for Darvish, especially in the wake of Arrieta’s situation..
      But agree….Phillies should make the utmost effort to ink him….also he is an off-season work out buddy with Otani and that may also be a plus in persuading Otani to wear red pinstripes vs black pinstripes

  2. Michael C Lorah

    November 07, 2017 07:53 AM

    Nice set of questions this week.

    Like Andrew, I would like the Phillies to go after Darvish. Having Darvish and Nola at the top of the rotation puts the Phillies in position to be a .500 or better team, and gives them more leverage as an up-and-coming roster that has shown real improvement (rather than theoretical improvement) when wooing Harper or Machado the following off-season.

    On the Galvis/Hernandez issue, the question to me is does Hernandez have more value now or at mid-season? I think Cesar, with his better all-around game and favorable team control, has more value than Galvis. If the Phils want Kingery to start the year at AAA (and don’t want to risk using Valentin as a stopgap), then they’re going to hang on to either Galvis or Hernandez to start the year. Hernandez will get a better return – will that return be better now, or better from a desperate team in mid-season? If now, flip Cesar and use Freddy at second until Kingery is ready. If later, send Galvis now and start the year with Cesar.

    • Bob D

      November 07, 2017 08:29 AM

      I feel it is 1 year too early to go after the top pitchers on the market. What would make sense is to go after younger starters age 30 or younger. Chatwood falls into this category but most other options would involve trade. The idea is to acquire a long term solution in the rotation that could be peaking in 2019 and after. Some of these 34/35 year olds would likely be on the down turn in career when the team is seriously competing. I could see a 2018 contender with the Phils, but the focus is more on 2019 and after.

      • Andrew R.

        November 07, 2017 09:26 AM

        I think Chatwood should be a serious option, Bob. But I believe with signing Darvish, you are competing for 2019. It’s almost one step back, to take two forward. Kind of like when the Nats went out and got Werth.

        Next offseason will feature Keuchel who will be over 30, as well as Kershaw, over 30. And that’s assuming both reach the market. I’m sure there will be other options, but I believe Darvish would be a step in the right direction.

        We had no problem spending over $50M for Hellickson, Buchholz, Saunders, etc.,. I’d rather spend half of that next year on a guy that will perform.

  3. JustBob

    November 07, 2017 12:43 PM

    The estimates for Chatwood seem very off the mark given that he will be in the price range for even smaller market teams. He will have multiple teams pursuing him.

    Not a question of whether Chatwood gets 3 years at his age (30 next year). More a question of the AAV.

    My bet is he gets a 3 year, $27-$30 million deal instead.

    • Romus

      November 07, 2017 03:44 PM

      That AAV may be a tad to low.
      Look what the likes of Ian Kennedy( Jan16, Kennedy signed a 5-yr, $70M contract with the Royals). and Mike Leake ( Dec15, Leake signed a five-year, $80 million contract ($16M/yr) with the Cards) got a few years ago….of course the market dictates, but pitching is at a premium and starters are at the top of the heap.

  4. JustBob

    November 07, 2017 12:53 PM

    Chances that Darvish signs here are very low even if they make him a competitive offer.

    Klentak likely would have to make him the largest offer as well as promising his agent that the Phillies will be aggressive in making other moves this offseason to try to contend next year for a playoff spot.

  5. Major Malfunction

    November 07, 2017 01:33 PM

    Darvish might be in a tier all by himself if you are comparing Arrieta to him. To me, Arrieta could very well be a 32 year old pitcher on a precipitous decline. He’s going to want to be paid for the stuff he did for 2 seasons with a significant raise. Does a team gamble on a multi year $20+ million/season contract? 3 years/$60M?

    Being that there are enough teams in the league and someone always willing to spend money, I think he gets it and Darvish getting even more. At that point, I can’t see the Phillies in that race considering where the team is projected this coming year.

    • Romus

      November 07, 2017 03:50 PM

      Arrieta with a QO now, and Boras Corp as his agent……he may not sign until June 2018.
      However, I saw were Hellickson, with Boras, took the Phillies offer last year….and Boras may recommend the same with Arrieta since he has been on the decline and his age is working against him for any contract 5 years or more. I can only see four years max on any contract..

  6. Mike Fassano

    November 07, 2017 04:56 PM

    Are the Phillies waiting to have their entire coaching staff in place to announce them? Are these Gabe’s guys or does the front office scrutinize them? Do you foresee any surprises on the staff (Chooch, Halliday, Utley, etc.)?

    • Major Malfunction

      November 07, 2017 05:19 PM

      If the news plays out like it looks right now, it’s tragically not going to be Halladay. Say it ain’t so!

  7. Tim

    November 14, 2017 11:52 AM

    Is Rhys a lock at 1B next year or did he show enough in the OF that the Phillies could go for another 1B in free agency or via trade? Signing Hosmer or trading for somebody like Jose Abreu would be a huge lineup upgrade, assuming Rhys can play OF at an acceptable level.

    That also lets them trade one of their then surplus outfielders. Just a thought.

    • Mike Fassano

      November 14, 2017 01:00 PM

      I’m not crazy about any of the top tier free agent pitchers. Maybe if the Phillies were closer to contention I would be. I really don’t like to throw names out there, but if Cesar and Williams can get us an Archer or Stroman, I’d do it. The Phillies lost a lot of one-run games last year, and a top of the line starter can make a big difference.

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