With the Promotion of Seranthony Dominguez the Phillies Are Sticking to Preseason Clichés

This spring the Phillies ran out a PR campaign around Kapler’s focus on “Value at the Margins” and #BeBold. For the most part the Phillies have been a pretty conventional sabermetrically inclines org. That is bold for baseball in this town. Outside Kingery starting in the majors, there hasn’t been any big personnel shakeups this year, until yesterday.

Stuff wise Seranthony Dominguez entered the offseason as #2 only to Sixto Sanchez. The righty was sitting 94-98 as a starting pitcher and holding his velocity deep into games. His slider showed plus potential, and he flashed an above average to plus changeup. The big problem was that Dominguez was 23 and had never really been healthy through a full year. The Phillies broke with what was conventional wisdom and moved what might have been a #2 or #3 starting pitcher to the bullpen to fast track him. After he blitzed AA, they moved him to AAA for the last little bits of polishing. Continue reading…

Crawford to the DL Opens Up Playing Time At a High Cost

Over the weekend, J.P. Crawford made a relay throw and lost feeling in his arm. For now he is on the disabled list with a forearm strain. We should know in the next few days how long Crawford will be out for. For now Scott Kingery will be the starting shortstop and Maikel Franco will see more time at third base than he has.  Coming into the season, it was said by many that the Phillies playing time issues would likely be solved by an injury, and while we all expected it, seeing one of the Phillies top prospects go down. Continue reading…

Ben Lively to the DL as Shaky #5 SP Spot Becomes Shakier

It was not long after he got done pitching batting practice to the Arizona Diamondbacks that Ben Lively mentioned that his back was tight, and he just wasn’t feeling right. Given the lack of urgency to this after the game, it was a slight surprise that Lively ended up immediately on the disabled list. To fill his spot the Phillies have recalled right handed pitcher Jake Thompson. We don’t know how long Ben Lively will be out with his lower back strain, so I am not going to speculate how long he is going to out for, because his DL stint could run all the way until Jerad Eickhoff is back. Continue reading…

In Signing Scott Kingery the Phillies Show the Complicated Process of Building a Young Core

On Sunday, the Phillies announced both that Scott Kingery would be on the opening day roster and that they had agreed to a 6 year deal with 3 options years. There is a lot going on in that statement, both for the Phillies and Scott as baseball entities, and for the two of them as financial entities.

It is probably best to start with the ugly part first, the financial aspect of this contract. For the Phillies, they guarantee Kingery the most money ever to a player with no MLB service time and a contract that is at least market compared to other early pre-arb contracts. In theory, the Phillies are taking on a lot of risk here. Kingery has some flaws, flaws that are why he is a good, but not top in the game prospect. The problem is there is no actual risk. The Phillies are paying $8M in the 6th year of this deal, which is a tiny bit of money in relation to their overall revenues and not a huge overpay if Kingery is just a solid utility bench player by that point in his contract. Kingery’s profile plays well into this as well. He is a good defender with great speed, and a good feel for contact. On its own, he is a fine utility infielder. His question marks are in his power and on base abilities. He has answered a lot of questions about whether his power is at least average, but the questions on his approach still remain. He does not have a long track record of struggle, he just lacks the upper minor league track record of success (it is a small sample size when talking about walk and strikeouts rates). The Phillies take on very little risk here, and the upside of this deal is that they just locked up an All-Star caliber player for his entire prime, for less than $7M AAV over the course of the 9 years of the deal. Continue reading…

Phillies DFA Tommy Joseph, Hopefully Give Him an Opportunity Elsewhere

After signing Jake Arrieta the Phillies were forced to remove a player from the 40 man roster, and rather than looking at one of their marginal relievers, the Phillies decided they had reached the end of the road with first baseman Tommy Joseph. It is a bittersweet moment for the player and the organization. Joseph has been nothing but a hard worker for the Phillies, and he is coming off his second straight 20 home run season in the majors after seeing his career almost end. He is having a good spring training this year, while trying to learn third base and left field. The truth is that Joseph was a long shot to be a part of the 2018 Phillies, and an even longer shot to be a part of their future.  Continue reading…

Phillies Reportedly Sign Jake Arrieta

According to all of the writers on the internet, the Phillies are signing right handed pitcher Jake Arrieta for 3 years and $75 million. At times this move felt needed or inevitable for the Phillies, but they constantly stuck to their terms on making any deal for a free agent pitcher. Up until the middle of today, that seemed like it would cost them a chance at signing any of the top starting pitchers. Whether they needed to make a pitching move or not is a bit up for debate, but after signing Carlos Santana, Tommy Hunter, and Pat Neshek the Phillies put themselves in a place where they have a foot into some playoff races. Arrieta is a clear upgrade on the Phillies projected #5 starter (which looked like a Ben Lively and Zach Eflin competition), and doesn’t make the Phillies a Wild Card favorite, but it does make them a contender. Continue reading…

Phillies Remake Roster Quickly Day After Winter Meetings

The winter meetings ended yesterday and then today the Phillies decided to upend everything.

Last things first, the Phillies officially signed Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek, with both taking the empty spots on the 40 man roster. Both deals have large signing bonuses and small annual salaries. This won’t affect luxury tax money, but it does move money around enough that the Phillies could offset a low payroll by front loading their money for when they spend next year.

The first deal of the night was the Phillies shipping shortstop Freddy Galvis to San Diego Padres for RHP Enyel De Los Santos. The Phillies trading Galvis was not surprising, it is no secret that the Phillies were strongly shopping Galvis and listening on his double play partner Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez still could be dealt, but unlike Galvis the Phillies don’t need to move Hernandez. De Los Santos will join a Phillies farm system heavy in pitching. Like many of the arms already in the system, De Los Santos has his flaws. In his case it is a poor breaking ball. Otherwise he has a potentially plus changeup and a mid 90s fastball with life. He profiles as a #4 starter, but there might be some more upside if he can improve his third pitch. It is a good return for an expiring contract on a flawed player.

Then the Phillies decide to get weird. Continue reading…

Tommy Hunter and the 8 Man Bullpen

Another day, another reliever contract for the Phillies. Yesterday the Phillies reportedly agreed to a 2 year $18M deal with free agent right hander Tommy Hunter.  The 31 year old Hunter has been an effective reliever for many year, but last year went to a new level with the Tampa Bay Rays as his strikeout rate shot up. Hunter started throwing his fastball less and harder while at the same time throwing more of his cutter which was around 94 instead of it’s previous 90. With his K% up over 10% on 2016, Hunter was able to post a 2.61 ERA on the season.

Hunter on his own is a solid addition. He isn’t a closer, and he probably isn’t a set up guy for the Phillies, but he should give Gabe Kapler another mid innings arm. This brings us to something that Matt Gelb mentioned yesterday. The Phillies are strongly thinking about going with an 8 man bullpen. In general I am opposed to 8 man bullpens because they leave a team’s bench a bit thin, but in this case the Phillies’ personnel was already leaning heavy towards this strategy. Continue reading…

Phillies Bring Back Pat Neshek and Other Winter Meeting Rumblings

The big news in the baseball world over the past few days is the Phillies bringing back right handed reliever Pat Neshek on what is reportedly a 2 year $16M deal with a team option for a 3rd year. Neshek was the Phillies lone All-Star last year before being traded to Colorado for Jose Gomez, J.D. Hammer, and Alejandro Requena at the deadline. Between the two teams Neshek pitched 62.1 innings with a 1.59 ERA. This deal covers Neshek’s age 37 and 38 seasons, but he has also been very good into his 30s which alleviates some of the concerns. The Phillies won’t be counting on Neshek to repeat his 2017 season, nor are they getting him to be their closer, but the move helps stabilize a Phillies bullpen on the rise. Neshek will rejoin the bullpen core of Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos as well as 2017 breakouts Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia. As of right now it looks like Hoby Milner will join them with the last spot either being filled with another FA acquisition or an internal option like Victor Arano, Yacksel Rios, Ricardo Pinto, or any other starter moving to the bullpen. It isn’t an elite level bullpen, but if Garcia and Morgan can repeat their 2017 seasons, it has the upside to be very good. This might end up a bit of a monetary overpay, but Neshek was very good last year and liked his time with the Phillies, and even if it goes south the Phillies have solidified up the late innings. Continue reading…

Phillies Claim Another Marginal LH Reliever

Even with the IronPigs ending their season yesterday, it appeared the Phillies were out of new additions to the 40 man roster this season. So when Jesen Therrien went down with a season ending arm injury it opened up a roster spot they likely weren’t planning on having.

Continue reading…