Some potential nominees for the 2019 Phillies Wall of Fame honors

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Manny Trillo of the 1980 World Series champs is a legit Wall of Fame candidate

Approximately one month from now the Philadelphia Phillies will announce the 2019 honoree who will be enshrined on the franchise Wall of Fame this coming summer.

Last year for the very first time the team honored two individuals, and in a rare occurrence, Phillies fans had no say in either selection. One of those was Pat Gillick, who has served for 14 years as general manager, president, and senior advisor. Gillick was the first “executive inductee” to the Wall of Fame.
The other honored a year ago was former pitcher Roy Halladay, who had died suddenly and tragically in Florida back in November 2017 while piloting his private plane. Publicly released ballots seem to reveal that ‘Doc’ is also about to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame this coming summer.
Those two joined the manager of the 2008 World Series champions, Charlie Manuel (2014), the organization’s all-time greatest pitcher Steve Carlton (1989), and the greatest player in Phillies history, Mike Schmidt (1990) in becoming the only individuals honored without fan voting as part of the process.
The Phillies had honored no one in the prior summer of 2017. That year, Pete Rose had been scheduled to be enshrined on the Wall of Fame. In early-August, less than two weeks before that was to take place, the club cancelled the ceremony after Rose became embroiled in controversy surrounding allegations that he had sex with a minor while a player with the Cincinnati Reds back in the 1970’s.
Otherwise, the Phillies have honored one individual each year other than 1983. That year an entire “Centennial Team” was named and celebrated in honor of the 100th anniversary of the franchise.
Odds are that one individual will be honored when next month’s announcement is made, so who might that be? One thing that should be obvious is that with an increasing number of worthy individuals now retiring from the 2008 world championship team, we are going to see many of those players enshrined in the coming years.

PARADE TO THE WALL COULD CONTINUE FOR ’08 CHAMPS

Already on the Wall of Fame from that team, joining general manager Gillick and manager Manuel, is outfielder Pat Burrell. The Phillies already have individual ceremonies scheduled for this summer to honor Jimmy RollinsRyan Howard, and Chase Utley due to the announcement of their formal retirements as players.
If the honor goes to another member of those 2008 World Series champions this time around, the leading candidates would be Shane VictorinoCarlos RuizJayson WerthBrad Lidge, and Jamie Moyer. The favorite might be Victorino after the popular Flyin’ Hawaiian was fetted just last season at Citizens Bank Park upon his formal retirement from baseball.
But the Phillies could also take another tack, choosing to honor some other worthy individuals before beginning what should prove to become a veritable parade to the Wall of Fame for a half-dozen or more of those 2008 players during the decade of the 2020’s.
If the club chooses through their own selection, or through a fan vote, or some combination to honor someone other than a 2008 player, who might be a few worthy candidates to consider?

NINE POTENTIAL NON-2008 WALL CONTENDERS

Baker has been Phillies PA announcer
for nearly a half-century
(Phillygd1/WikiCommons)

Before getting into the players, there is one non-player who absolutely deserves consideration. That would be 72-year-old public address announcer Dan Baker.

A native of Philadelphia, Baker became the PA announcer for Phillies games at Veteran’s Stadium beginning with its second season in 1972. His voice has now greeted, entertained, and informed generations of fans over nearly a half-century at both ‘The Vet’ and Citizens Bank Park.
There are eight former Phillies players who, in my opinion, deserve at least some measure of consideration for the Wall of Fame, and who are not associated with the 2008 world championship team. They are: Fred LuderusBobby WineRon ReedManny TrilloScott RolenBobby AbreuCliff Lee, and Rose.
Luderus was the Phillies starting first baseman, one of the best in all of baseball during the ‘Dead Ball Era’ of the 1910’s. I have previously championed his cause in a pair of pieces when he was nominated for the Wall of Fame back in 2016 and the previous year.
Now 80 years of age, Wine was the Phillies starting shortstop for much of the 1960’s, winning the 1963 National League Gold Glove Award at the position. After retiring from baseball, Wine joined the Phillies coaching staff. He remained a valuable coach under four managers during the club’s rise to power, serving from July 1972 through the 1983 NL pennant-winning campaign.
Reed already had a dozen big-league seasons under his belt when he joined the Phillies in a January 1975 trade from the Saint Louis Cardinals. Over the next 10 seasons, the tall right-hander became one of the most effective relief pitchers in club history, going 57-38 with 90 Saves and allowing 702 hits over 809 innings. He registered a 3.06 ERA over 458 games with the club, including nine starts. Reed further appeared in 21 postseason games, and recorded a Save in Game One of the 1980 World Series.
Trillo, now 68-years-old, originally signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent in January 1968 but was left unprotected and was lost to the Oakland A’s in the Rule 5 Draft in December 1969.
He returned to the club as part of an eight-player swap with the Chicago Cubs in February 1979 and became a vital key over the next four years. Trillo won three Gold Gloves, two Silver Sluggers, appeared in three MLB All-Star games, and was the MVP of the dramatic 1980 National League Championship Series.

Abreu was an offensive machine as the Phillies grew from late-90’s also-ran to mid-00’s contender (Rdikeman/WikiCommons)
Rolen is 43-years-old and is now the director of player development for the University of Indiana Hoosiers collegiate baseball program. He was the Phillies second round pick in the 1993 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school in Indiana.
Rolen broke into the big-leagues in 1996 and became the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year. He then won four Gold Glove Awards at third base over the next five years and was also an NL All-Star and Silver Slugger winner in 2002, his final year with the club.
Abreu was just 23-years-old when he joined the Phillies in a November 1997 trade with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He became an immediate starter with the Phillies, and over nine seasons was a key performer as the club rose from also-ran to contender.
Abreu, now 44, was a 2x NL All-Star, a 2004 Silver Slugger winner, and a 2005 Gold Glove Award winner. He also won the 2005 Home Run Derby at the MLB All-Star festivities. For seven straight seasons he was a 20/20 player, including two 30/30 campaigns.
The 40-year-old Lee is easily the most well-known of these candidates to current Phillies fans. He was already an AL Cy Young Award winner when he arrived from the Cleveland Indians in July 2009 as part of a six-player deal.
After he led the Phillies back to the World Series that October, GM Ruben Amaro dealt him away on the same December 2009 day that Halladay was acquired. But Lee chose to return when the became a free agent a year later, and was part of the 2011 ‘Four Aces’ starting rotation that led the Phillies to a franchise-record 102 regular season victories.
Over parts of five seasons with the club, Lee put together a 48-34 record with a 2.94 ERA, 2.85 FIP, and 1.089 WHIP. He allowed 777 hits over 827.1 innings with an incredible 6.56 K:BB ratio. Lee was also a 2x NL All-Star with the club, and finished top six in the NL Cy Young Award voting.
And then there is Rose. As with the Baseball Hall of Fame, on playing credentials alone he is worthy of the Phillies Wall of Fame. He was the first-ever big Phillies free agent signing in December 1978 and was an NL All-Star each of the next four years with the club.
Rose won the 1981 NL Silver Slugger at first base, received NL MVP votes twice including a top ten finish in that 1981 campaign, and has been credited with pushing the Phillies over the hump to the 1980 world championship.
As for the allegations of statutory rape, Rose continues to deny them. Would the Phillies ever re-open his Wall of Fame case during this current “Me Too” movement era? Despite America supposedly being an innocent-until-proven-guilty country, that is likely a longshot.
Will the 2008 World Series championship team continue to be honored with another member getting a plaque on the Phillies Wall of Fame later this summer? Will one of the worthy non-2008 players finally find their way on to the Wall of Fame? Will fans even get a say in this year’s selection process? Those questions will be answered in the coming weeks.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as As Phillies prepare to honor a parade of 2008 players, who else deserves the Wall of Fame?

In radio interview, Manny Machado’s father claims son has multiple offers

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The Machado free agency is expected to be resolved soon

Things are eerily quiet down at Citizens Bank Park here in the middle of January. But that just might actually be a sign that the Phillies are preparing to light up the ‘Hot Stove’ as the Philadelphia region prepares to enter the coldest stretch of winter.

One thing that can be said for the current regime under owner John Middleton, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, and general manager Matt Klentak is that they play it fairly close to the vest. You don’t get much, if anything, leaking out of the Phillies offices until the club is ready to announce something formal.
Manuel Machado, father of big free agent prize infielder Manny Machado, tossed a log on the hot stove during an appearance on Z Digital radio earlier today. The senior Machado stated that the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, and Los Angeles Dodgers had all made formal offers for the services of his son.

Manuel Machado, Manny’s Father:

“Manny has received offers from different teams: Yankees, Dodgers, Phillies, now there’s a lot of interest from the White Sox.” @z101digital @ZDeportes

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Per Jose Luis Montilla at Z Digital, the senior Machado further stated that there is a team “which nobody is thinking at the moment” also involved in discussions for his son.
Earlier this week, Richard Justice at MLB.com speculated that the San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Saint Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, or Texas Rangers could emerge as such a “mystery team” in the sweepstakes for Machado or Bryce Harper.
Known to be his favored destination entering the off-season, the New York Yankees continue to instead spend their money elsewhere, the latest being reliever Adam Ottavino. Other reports have mentioned the Los Angeles Angels and Arizona Diamondbacks as Machado possibilities.
When the week began, I believed that we could see a resolution to the Machado situation by this weekend. I still think that is possible. I don’t believe that this many teams are actually still involved. The most reputable reporting suggests to me that the Machado battle is down to the Phillies and White Sox.
Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, released a statement earlier in the week claiming that public pronouncements from usually reliable and reputable sources such as Buster Olney and Bob Nightengale were “inaccurate and reckless” regarding his client.

Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group, the agent for Manny Machado, released the following statement regarding recent reports:

1,253 people are talking about this

Don’t file today’s item under simple “rumors” for Machado. His father came out publicly and made a statement. Was this a case of the father trying to help drive up the market for his son? Was dad looking for a little personal publicity? Impossible to say.
Depending on which reports you choose to believe, the Phillies may have switched their primary interest and efforts from Machado to Harper. Other reports indicate they could be interested in both free agents. Still others believe the club simply wants to land one or the other, and then go hard after Mike Trout in a couple of years.

What does seem safe to assume is that, with just over three weeks to go until pitchers and catchers report for the start of spring training, we are likely to see a resolution and decision on the future home for both young superstars sooner rather than later.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Manny Machado’s father says Phillies among three teams to make formal offers

With much to prove in 2019, Odubel Herrera already working out in Florida

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‘El Torito’ is coming off a down year and has increased competition in 2019

It is the middle of January here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was seasonably cold this morning as I took my little dog, Kiki, on her morning walk. The high is expected to possibly reach 40 degrees by later this afternoon.

Down in Clearwater, Florida, where the Philadelphia Phillies are scheduled to begin gathering approximately one month from now, the weather is a little bit better. The temps are in the low-50’s this morning, expected to rise to the upper-50’s by later this afternoon.
It is expected to be milder down in Florida than here in Philly at this time of year. But it isn’t quite what it will be down south when spring training opens and unfolds, when lows are generally around 60 degrees and the average high temps get well into the 70’s.
That’s why they call it “spring” training. The weather is mostly perfect for baseball in Florida in late February and March. But again, it’s mid-January. Those spring training days are still a month off.
And yet there was Odubel Herrera, running and throwing at the club’s Carpenter Complex in Clearwater on Tuesday morning. 
Jim Peyton of FuturePhillies.com captured the Phillies outfielder as he worked out on a crisp January morning.

Odubel long tossing on Schmidt Field in 50 degree weather. That’s Jose Alvarez in the background

See jim peyton’s other Tweets

There is good reason for Herrera to be down in Florida early working out in the team facilities. The 27-year-old has much to prove this spring, assuming he is still with the ball club.
Back in mid-December of 2016 the Phillies signed Herrera to a five-year extension at $30.5 million. The deal keeps him under contract through the 2021 season. It also includes club options for $11.5 million in 2022 and $12.5 million in 2023.
At that point he was coming off an age-26 season in which he hit .286 with a .361 on-base percentage. He struck 15 home runs, scored 87 runs, and stole 25 bases and was the Phillies representative on the National League All-Star team.
The Phillies thought they had gotten a steal when they selected him in the December 2014 Rule 5 Draft after the Texas Rangers had left him unprotected. The club was plotting their future and got him to agree to what appeared to be a team-friendly extension.
In 2017, Herrera suddenly seemed to become less aggressive. His stolen base total plummeted to just eight total bags swiped, and his runs scored total dropped to 67. However, he also powered up. His homers dropped by one from the prior season to 14, but that was in 93 fewer plate appearances. He banged out 59 extra-base hits as opposed to just 42 in 2016.
With Texas, Herrera had been a second baseman. But his winter ball manager, Jorge Velandia, also happened to be a Phillies special assistant of player personnel at the time. He saw Herrera’s outfield potential and recommended him to pro scouting director Mike Ondo.
At the time of the extension, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com quoted Ondo on that potential as an outfielder having been of primary interest to the Phillies:
I’ll be honest, we liked the player, but a lot had to do with the outfield and knowing the person, knowing what you were getting in the player. That was a huge assist. We were real fortunate that Jorge was there to give us that information.
Herrera was a colorful addition to what was increasingly becoming a bad and bland Phillies ball club. He made a number of mistakes as he basically tried to learn how to play center field at the big-league level.
He made five errors in the 2015 season and misplayed a number of other balls. The following year his defensive challenges increased. He made 11 errors in the field and the misplays continued to come far too frequently. Incredibly, Herrera was nominated for a Gold Glove Award following that 2016 season, one in which his performance tailed off considerably in the second half.
At that point, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak, per a quote from Matt Breen at Philly.com, called Herrera “…one of the best centerfielders — one of the best overall outfielders — in the National League, period.”
Phillies fans were not as sold on Herrera’s skills. On sports talk radio and social media, Herrera was often decried as a player who didn’t always appear to take the game seriously. The most commonly used word to describe him was “bone-headed” by those fans, based on the numerous mistakes that he continued to make in the field.
In 2018, Herrera fell off offensively and continued to suffer from defensive lapses. His slash line dropped to .255/.310/.420, and though his home run and RBI totals both increased, his doubles total dropped by more than half and his stolen base and runs scored totals both dropped again despite an increase in plate appearances.
As the Phillies arrive at spring training over the next month, Herrera will find increased competition for playing time. Andrew McCutchen has been signed as the new left fielder. There now appears to be a strong possibility that Bryce Harper could be coming as the new right fielder.
Herrera may now find himself competing for the starting center field job with 25-year-old Roman Quinn. There is also the presence of returnees Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr to consider. At least one and possibly two from among that four-player group would likely become trade bait should Harper actually sign.
Now four seasons in, I’m frankly still not exactly sure what the Phillies have in Herrera. At his best, he flashes the skills to be an above-average ball player. At other times the fans who call him “bone-headed” are exactly right in their description. At worst, the Phillies have a depth outfielder on an affordable contract for three more years. At age 27, this will be a pivotal season for him.
If Herrera is still here when spring training gets underway, and he begins as the starting center fielder flanked by McCutchen and Harper, then hopefully the focus and determination of those former National League MVP’s will help Herrera to not only rebound but elevate his game. By arriving a month early, he seems to be showing that he knows he has something to prove.

Phillies third baseman of the future? Alec Bohm ready to show it is him

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Bohm was the Phillies 2018 first round draft pick out of Wichita State

Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies have justifiably been distracted in recent weeks by two names. But while Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are gathering contract offers and making their final decisions, perhaps we can take some time to talk about other topics related to the ball club?

There are other possible Hot Stove situations further out on the horizon that have also received some attention from the fans. One of those could come next Fall, when third baseman Nolan Arenado is due to become a free agent if he and the Colorado Rockies cannot reach a contract extension.
Having acquired Jean Segura via trade earlier this off-season, the Phillies would like Machado to play third base for them. If that were to come to pass, then the hot corner would be filled for the foreseeable future.
However, should the club fail to land Machado this year or Arenado next, the Phillies future third baseman could already be in the organization. And I’m not talking about incumbent Maikel Franco.
Last June the Phillies made Alec Bohm of Wichita State University their choice in the first round at third overall in the MLB Amateur Draft. With an advanced bat, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of seasons before Bohm is ready for a crack at the big-leagues.

When Bohm was drafted there were many who speculated he would eventually end up at first base or an outfield corner. But as the Phillies (hopefully) learned this past season with the Rhys Hoskins left field experiment, you cannot simply stick a player in the outfield and hope that his bat makes up for defensive deficiencies.
Hoskins is not a left fielder and never will be one. Nothing about Bohm suggests that he would be a solid defender out there either. With Hoskins now apparently back and settled in at first base for years to come, that position presents more than a roadblock to Bohm.
Based on what we know at this point, Bohm is the Phillies third baseman of the future. As the RotoWire staff pointed out for CBS Sports, if the 6’5 Bohm were to make it and become a regular at the position he would be bucking the odds. Troy Glaus and Kris Bryant are the only players 6-foot-5 or taller to have ever played 200 games at the position in the majors.
Neither Glaus, who bashed 320 homers over a 13-year big-league career from 1998-2010, or Bryant who is one of today’s premier power hitters, would ever be considered a defensive whiz. Their bats were their calling cards.
There is little doubt that the bat will be what carries Bohm as well. If anyone knows hitting, it’s Charlie Manuel. The Phillies 2008 World Series-winning manager was quoted on that bat by Jim Salisbury for Baseball America back in November:
He’s going to hit. He’s going to be a line-drive hitter with power. He’s going to be an RBI guy. He’s a tough out. He doesn’t like to strike out and he can really get on the fastball. We’d turn the machine up to 100, 105 (mph) in the cage and he can get to it. I liked him in college and I like him more now.”
The Phillies have enjoyed success with taller third basemen over their history. The two best to ever play the position for the club were the 6’2 Mike Schmidt and 6’4 Scott Rolen.
Both Schmidt and Rolen were premier athletes who were not only dynamic offensive contributors but were also among the greatest defenders to ever play third base in the history of the game.
That defensive performance is where Bohm is going to have to show improvement if he wants to last at the position in Major League Baseball. This past Fall he spent four weeks working on that aspect of his game in the Instructional League.
Back in October, Meghan Montemurro at The Athletic quoted the Phillies minor league infield coordinator Chris Truby on Bohm’s work at the defensive side of the game:

“He wants to silence everybody. He’s come out with the work ethic and desire to prove people wrong. He’s done nothing but prove to us that he can play third.” ~ Chris Truby, on Bohm

“When you’re in college and the bat is your thing, you go to the next level and you realize that you need a little bit more than that, and I think he knows that..
Work in the IL is an important part of the developmental process. Now entering his first year as a professional baseball player, Bohm will continue that work in spring training and on into his first full season. That work in practice and then the experience gained in real games will be the telling point.

His bat should allow Bohm to reach Double-A Reading by the end of this coming summer. Assuming health and continued expected development, he would see Triple-A Lehigh Valley by some point in the summer of 2020.
That would put the Omaha, Nebraska native in line to contend for a starting job in the Phillies lineup by spring training of 2021 when he would be 24 years of age.
Schmidt was 23 for his first full season in 1973, Rolen just 22 for his first full season in 1997. Franco was also just 22 when he took over the position in 2015. So that is certainly a more than reasonable track for Bohm to be on.
Most fans seem to be writing off any chance of Franco remaining a part of the Phillies future for much longer. That is somewhat difficult to understand considering that he is still just 26-years-old and hit for a career-high .270 average last season, when a shoulder injury severely hampered his production over the final month of September .
The incumbent Franco? The free agent Machado? The future free agent Arenado? The developing Bohm? The third base position should prove one of the most compelling situations as the Phillies look to construct a roster that can contend throughout the 2020’s as they did through all of the 2000’s.

Marwin Gonzalez and others available who could still help the Phillies

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Versatile Marwin Gonzalez would make a nice addition to the Phillies

As the Hot Stove season pushes to mid-January, the Philadelphia Phillies have emerged as the favorites to land one or the other of the two biggest free agent prizes.

The club met with outfielder Bryce Harper on Saturday in his home town of Las Vegas. They have met previously with infielder Manny Machado at Citizens Bank Park.
Both meetings seemed to go well. There are some, in fact, who have speculated that the Phillies could still actually make a run at both young superstars.
But what happens if their efforts to land one of these marquee talents should fail? Where do the Phillies look to help bolster their roster if they still want to be competitive in what promises to be a tough National League East Division race in 2019?
One direction that the club could go would be to try and put together a top -tier pitching staff. For that to happen they would need to add one, possibly two more starting pitchers to the rotation.
The name that has floated out there the most and longest still remains available. That would be free agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who would slot perfectly into the Phillies rotation between Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta.
The club could then also take a run at reliever Craig Kimbrel. Bringing him on board to close out games with David RobertsonHector NerisSeranthony DominguezPat Neshek and the rest of an already improved bullpen in various setup and matchup roles would make the Phillies bullpen truly elite.
A.J. Pollock remains available as an outfield option. The 31-year-old seven-year veteran is not the true impact bat that the club is hoping to add in Harper or Machado. He would make for a poor consolation prize. But on a shorter-term deal, the 2015 Gold Glove Award winner could at least upgrade the Phillies defense in center field while providing some level of offensive value.
Marwin Gonzalez will turn 30-year-old in the middle of spring training. He would not bring the speed that Pollock possesses, but would bring more lineup versatility. Gonzalez is a switch-hitter who can legitimately cover a corner outfield spot and play almost anywhere on the infield as well.
Phillies general manager Matt Klentak would almost certainly continue to look around for fits in trade as well. Any of the current outfielders besides Andrew McCutchen and any of the starting pitchers beyond Nolan and Arrieta would presumably be available. The club also has a nice depth of relief pitching from which a trade partner to choose.
In a trade, the Phillies would almost certainly be looking for a corner outfielder with some proven pop. They would also be trying to land an experienced left-handed starting pitcher.
While these are possibilities should the club lose out on both Harper and Machado, some would be possible moves even if the Phillies land one of those big-ticket prizes. Bringing in a southpaw for the rotation would remain a desire, which could keep them in on someone like Keuchel. Adding a more proven veteran bench option would also be important for a contending team, and someone such as Gonzalez would fit that bill perfectly.
The Phillies remain in on both Harper and Machado. I would expect that we will see some resolution to the Machado situation within the next few days. Harper could follow soon after. Once those big deals are done, watch for the rest of baseball’s remaining free agent market logjam to begin clearing rapidly.