Tag Archives: Cole Hamels

Phillies off-season personnel schedule and deadlines

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Baseball super agent Scott Boras will be a central figure in the game, likely including with the Phillies, once again this off-season

 

Much of the attention surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies during this coming week will be rightly focused on the interview process as the ball club searches for a new manager.

Meanwhile, the Major League Baseball postseason excitement will roll on as both the National and American League Championship Series continue. By the end of this week or early next, both pennants will have been won, and the World Series match-up will be set.

Where individual veteran players are concerned, at least those not still participating in the playoffs, the month of October largely finds them in a holding pattern.

Most of those players are safely under contract for the 2020 season and have a fairly good idea of where they will be playing next year.

However, there are a number of players who will become free agents or the object of trades. Others will have their roster spot come up for evaluation, with some to be protected and remain with their current organization while others are exposed to the free agent market.

Let’s take a first look at the 2019-20 Major League Baseball off-season schedule and deadlines, and the individual Phillies players who will find themselves directly affected.

As the off-season moves forward, I will frequently be addressing these players, events, and deadlines on a more individualized and detailed basis. This should once again be an eventful off-season for the Philadelphia Phillies, so stay tuned.

The NLCS will last at least through Tuesday and the ALCS at least through Thursday. That means the earliest the World Series can begin would be this coming weekend.

Odds are that at least one LCS will go farther, meaning the Fall Classic probably won’t begin until some time next week. The likelihood is that we will have a new world champion crowned by the final week in October, which gets this off-season clock started.

First day after the World Series ends: Teams can trade Major League players once again. Also, eligible players will officially become free agents. However, they must first pass through a five-day period in which these new free agents may negotiate only with their current team.

The following are players of interest who appeared with the 2019 Phillies and who will also become free agents at the conclusion of the World Series: Corey Dickerson, Brad Miller, Sean Rodriguez, Logan Morrison, Drew Smyly, Jason Vargas, Pat Neshek, Tommy Hunter, Jared Hughes, Juan Nicasio, Nick Vincent.

Fifth day after the World Series ends: This is the final day to reinstate players from the 60-day injured list. Importance? Room will need to be made on the 40-man roster for any players who the club wishes to retain. This is also the deadline for clubs to tender qualifying offers to eligible free agents.

Currently on the 60-day Injured List with the Phillies are Dickerson, Hunter, Neshek, Robertson, Victor Arano, Jake Arrieta, Seranthony Dominguez, Jerad Eickhoff, Adam Morgan, Andrew McCutchen.

With Dickerson, Hunter, and Neshek all becoming free agents, the Phillies will have to make decisions involving the others. Robertson will be an interesting decision.

If the club protects all seven non-free agents, there are a number of 40-man roster players who still have minor league options and could be strategically demoted/opted to make room. Those include Arano, Deivy Grullon, Edgar Garcia, Austin Davis, Cole Irvin, Ranger Suarez, and Enyel De Los Santos.

Fifth day after the World Series ends: Perhaps most importantly at this time, free agents may now sign with any club they wish. Just as last off-season with the pursuits of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, expect the Phillies to be involved in both rumors and actual negotiations with most big-name available players.

The club is expected to go hard for one or two veteran pitchers this off-season in the free agent market. Possible targets include starters Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler, Rick Porcello, and Stephen Strasburg (should he opt out of his contract with the Nationals), reliever Dellin Betances, and former Phillies hero Cole Hamels.

Among position players the Phillies could target as new starters, third basemen Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson and outfielder Marcell Ozuna (as a center fielder) would be among the leading possibilities. GM Matt Klentak will certainly be looking at strengthening his bench in free agency as well.

Players who appeared with the Phillies this past season who will become free agents and could be targeted to return include Dickerson, Miller, Hughes, and Vincent.

Fifteenth day after the World Series ends: Deadline for players to accept qualifying offer.

This should not affect the Phillies in any way. There are no pending free agents who are eligible for a qualifying offer from the club who will receive one.

November 20: In addition to my birthday, this will also be the deadline for MLB teams to add players to their 40-man rosters to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.

The Phillies will need to add top ten organizational prospect pitchers Adonis Medina and JoJo Romero to their 40-man in order to protect both this year.

December 2: Tender deadline. Sometimes referred to the non-tender deadline, it is the time by which teams must formally tender 2020 contracts to unsigned players. If a player is non-tendered, he becomes a free agent.

The Phillies will be tendering 2020 contracts to Rhys Hoskins, Vince Velasquez, and Hector Neris. Interesting decisions will come on a few other players including Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco, and Blake Parker.

December 9-12: The baseball Winter Meetings are held during this week in San Diego. On the final day, the Rule 5 Draft will be held.

For years, this was when many big trades went down. That was because it was a rare opportunity for the management teams of each club to be located in the same place at the same time.

While the Winter Meetings remain a hotbed of rumors in that regard, with the advent of modern communication methods the bigger trades can happen at any time.

Last year, the Phillies signed McCutchen during this period. Also, Carlos Santana, whom the Phillies had dealt to Seattle as part of the Jean Segura deal less than two weeks earlier, was traded by the Mariners to the Cleveland Indians.

January 10, 2020: Salary arbitration figures are exchanged between MLB clubs and any eligible players. It will be interesting to see the figures exchanged between Hoskins, Velasquez, and Neris with the Phillies. Possibly even Hernandez and/or Franco, if either or both is indeed offered a contract.

February 3, 2020: Arbitration hearings begin. The Phillies have not been to a hearing in more than a decade since losing in February 2008 to first baseman Ryan Howard. The club avoided a hearing with Aaron Nola a year ago, agreeing with their budding ace on a four-year, $45-million dollar deal with a club option fifth year.

  • February 22, 2020: The spring training Grapefruit League schedule begins with the Phillies visiting the Detroit Tigers at Lakeland, Florida. The club’s pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Clearwater on a date yet to be set, but which will come roughly a week or so earlier.

There is a chance that big personnel doings could still take place at this point. The Phillies are expected to once again be major players in free agency. Remember, Harper was not signed until spring training was already underway prior to the 2019 campaign.

Look back at the Phillies in the MLB All-Star Game during the 2010’s

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On right, Victorino, Polanco, Lee, Hamels repped Phillies in 2011

On Tuesday night, Major League Baseball will celebrate many of it’s top names with the playing of the All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

For Phillies fans, this 90th version of the Midsummer Classic will feature just one member of their favorite ball club. That has been the case in most recent years with the team usually in a non-contending position.
However, this second decade of the 21st century did not begin that way. When the decade opened, the Phillies were on top of the National League. The were two-time defending NL champions, had been legitimate contenders for most of the previous decade, and featured a star-studded lineup and pitching staff.
In the 2010 MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the Phillies had three representatives. First baseman Ryan Howard started and batted in the cleanup spot for the NL squad. Second baseman Chase Utley was voted as the starting NL second baseman for a fifth consecutive year, but sprained his thumb in late June and had to miss the game. Roy Halladay was one of the NL reserve pitchers.
Howard went 0-2 that night, striking out to leadoff the top of the 2nd inning against David Price. Halladay came on to pitch in the bottom of the 6th inning. He surrendered a leadoff single to Derek Jeter, but then got Paul Konerko to roll into a double play. After giving up a base hit to Josh Hamilton, the Phillies righty was lifted by manager Charlie Manuel.
The 2011 MLB All-Star Game was played at Chase Field in Phoenix, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. For the first time since 2004, no Phillies position players were voted in as starters. However, Halladay was selected to start on the mound for the National League.
After Doc pitched two perfect innings, he was followed to the mound by rotation mate Cliff Lee. The Phillies lefty would retire the first five batters he faced before Adrian Gonzalez homered with two outs in the top of the 4th inning. It would be the only run allowed by NL pitching in a 5-1 victory.
The Phillies had three more All-Stars in 2011, but none got into the game. Those three were pitcher Cole Hamels, third baseman Placido Polanco, and center fielder Shane Victorino.
Interesting note: Also on that 2011 NL All-Star squad were Andrew McCutchenJay Bruce, and Hunter Pence. The latter would be dealt to the Phillies at the end of that month. For Cutch it was the first of five consecutive appearances as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bruce was enjoying his first of two straight and three overall with the Cincinnati Reds.
By the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, the Phillies fortunes were waning. After winning the NL East Division for five consecutive seasons, the club sat at 37-50 at the All-Star break. That was last place in the division, 14 games out of first. They would make a second-half run to finish at 81-81, finishing in 3rd. For the first time since 2003, no Phillies appeared in the NL starting lineup.
Despite the struggles, that team still placed three players on the team: Hamels, catcher Carlos Ruiz, and new closer Jonathan Papelbon. The NL squad also featured an exciting 19-year-old phenom outfielder named Bryce Harper, who was making his first of a half-dozen all-star appearances over the next seven seasons with Washington.
Ruiz would replace starter Buster Posey behind the plate for the bottom of the 6th inning, given the dubious honor of handling knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. In the top of the 7th, ‘Chooch’ flew out to left against Oakland A’s reliever Ryan Cook in what would be the lone all-star at-bat of his career.
Hamels tossed a perfect 7th inning in that 2012 game. Papelbon retired Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, the only batter he faced, on a fly ball to left field to end an 8-0 National League victory at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
The Phillies had a pair of NL All-Stars in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field. One was outfielder Domonic Brown, who had gotten red hot for the only stretch of his big-league career, lasting about seven weeks, to earn the nod. The other was Lee, who was greeted, uh, lustily by the New York fans at Citi Field and who responded, uh, stoically.
Brown entered as a replacement in left field for Carlos Gonzalez in the top of the 6th inning and then struck out against Toronto lefty reliever Brett Cecil. Lee pitched the top of the 5th, surrendering a leadoff double to Adam Jones followed by a single by Joe Mauer. After Jones scored on a ground out, Lee got out of the inning by getting 21-year-old Mike Trout to ground into a double play.
Target Field in Minnesota was the site of the 2014 MLB All-Star Game, and the Phillies returned to placing a starter when Chase Utley was voted as the second baseman for the sixth time in his career. He was also the only Phillies all-star that year, the first time since Randy Wolf represented the club back in 2003 that the club had just one player named to the NL squad.
Batting 7th in the lineup, Utley ripped a one-out RBI double off Jon Lester in the top of the 2nd to get the NL on the scoreboard. With two out in the top of the 5th, Utley was hit by a pitch from Chicago White Sox lefty Chris Sale and was lifted for pinch-runner Dee Gordon.
In the 2015 MLB All-Star Game at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Papelbon was the lone Phillies rep. He did not pitch in the game, and would appear in just five more games for the club before being traded to Washington exactly two weeks to the day after the game.
Petco Park in San Diego hosted the 2016 MLB All-Star Game and outfielder Odubel Herrerawas the lone Phillies representative. He took over in center field in the bottom of the 5th inning, then flew out against Kansas City pitcher Kelvin Herrera in the top of the 6th inning. He was pinch-hit for by Starling Marte in the top of the 8th inning.
The National League hosted for a third straight year when the 2017 MLB All-Star Game was played at Marlins Park in Miami. Reliever Pat Neshek represented the Phillies, then much as Papelbon two years earlier, pitched in five more games for the club before getting traded just over two weeks later.
Which brings us to last year. At Nationals Park, Harper got the start in center field in front of his former home fans after putting on a major show the previous day to win the Home Run Derby. One of the backup catchers was J.T. Realmuto, then with Miami and serving as that lone Phillies rep in tonight’s game.
The lone Phillies player selected for last year’s 2018 MLB All-Star Game was pitcher Aaron Nola. The righty came in for the 5th inning and struck out the first two AL batters that he faced in Salvador Perez and Mookie Betts. After giving up a single to Jose Altuve, Nola got Trout to pop out to first base foul territory to complete a shutout frame.
Howard, Utley, Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Polanco, Victorino, Ruiz, Papelbon, Brown, Herrera, Neshek, Nola. Those 13 players all appeared in the MLB All-Star Game during the decade of the 2010’s for the National League squad as a representative of the Philadelphia Phillies. Realmuto joins the list tonight in Cleveland.

Could Cole Hamels pass back through Philly on his way to Cooperstown?

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Hamels built the foundation of his career over a decade with Phillies

Want the latest in a recent series of hot takes that I’ve been espousing? Here goes: former Phillies star pitcher Cole Hamels is going to one day be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He is one of 10 active players in Major League Baseball who, I believe, will be easy choices once the voting members of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America get a chance to cast ballots for them.
Hitters in the group are Albert PujolsMiguel CabreraRobinson Cano, and Mike Trout. The pitchers are Justin VerlanderZack GreinkeClayton KershawC.C. SabathiaMax Scherzer, and Hamels.
Now, I’m not saying that these are the only players currently active who will one day end up enshrined at Cooperstown. These 10 will certainly be joined by a number of others. I am really close on calling guys like Joey Votto and Chris Sale no-doubt HOFers. But I’m just not quite there yet.
Hamels should have few questioning his qualifications once the time comes. That will be especially so should he post two more years after this one that are in any way comparable to his career norms. Those will be his ages 36 and 37 seasons, and there is no sign that he is slowing down.
On Tuesday at Wrigley Field, Hamels became just the 10th left-hander to reach the 2,500 career strikeout mark. Four of the other nine, Randy Johnson (4,875), Steve Carlton (4,136), Tom Glavine (2,607), and Warren Spahn (2,583) are already Hall of Famers. Hamels and Sabathia, who has now surpassed the 3,000 mark, will surely join them one day.
In his next start, Hamels will pass Christy Mathewson for 36th place on the all-time Major League Baseball strikeout list. Before the year is out, he should pass three more Hall of Famers: Tim KeefeBob Feller, and Spahn. He could also pass two fellow lefties, Glavine and Chuck Finley, by the end of this season. That would move him into the top 25 all-time.
Hamels also has a solid postseason record on his resume. Over 17 appearances, 16 of those starts, he is 7-6 with a 3.41 ERA and has allowed 83 hits over 100.1 innings with a 93/27 K:BB ratio. 11 of the 16 have been of the Quality Start variety.
Hamels is enjoying yet another outstanding season this year in his first full season with the Chicago Cubs. He has a 6-2 record with a 2.85 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, and a 91/32 K:BB ratio while allowing just 76 hits over 91.2 innings across 15 starts.
Should he remain healthy, the lefty will be passing the 3,000 career strikeouts mark sometime in the summer of 2021. He also should be approaching or passing the 200-win mark at that point.
His career highlights will only provide an exclamation point to what will be substantial statistical milestones. Hamels was the Most Valuable Player of the 2008 NLCS and World Series. He tossed a no-hitter in his final start with the Phillies in July 2015. He is almost assuredly headed towards his fifth NL All-Star appearance.
Hamels has finished among the top ten in Cy Young Award voting four times. He appears primed to finish there again this season, and actually could take a real run at finally winning the honors. Among active pitchers, he is fifth in career B-R Pitching WAR (58.6) behind only Verlander, Greinke, Kershaw, and Sabathia.
Speaking of Cy Young, Hamels is on pace to pass the legendary pitcher himself on his way into the all-time top 20 at some point in that 2021 season.
He was quoted as follows by Jordan Bastian at MLB.com after the game in which he reached that 2,500 K’s mark:
It’s a special moment…It blows me away. I’m fortunate to be in this position. I obviously want to keep continuing and doing it as long as I possibly can.
While the question of whether or not Hamels will one day be a Hall of Famer is almost certainly answered already, there is an interesting question remaining; For which team will Hamels be pitching when he reaches that 3,000 strikeout mark?
Hamels is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of this season. He is making $20 million in the final year of a six-year deal that included a club-option season which he signed while still a member of the Phillies back in July 2012.
When he signed that deal, he still had teammates with whom he had gone to war for years with, some of whom he had won a championship with like Jimmy RollinsChase UtleyRyan HowardCarlos RuizRoy Halladay, and Shane Victorino. The Phillies rotation still included Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
Hamels was quoted by the Associated Press at the time of the signing:
I understand that free agency is great, those opportunities of the unknowing. But this is the place that I call home and want to call home for a really long time. I grew up watching Tony Gwynn play and he made San Diego his home for his entire career. That’s ultimately what I want to make here in Philadelphia.”
But Victorino would be gone in less than a week. The careers of both Halladay and Lee would be cut short in less than two years. It would all fall apart so quickly for what had been a glorious era in Phillies baseball.
The other pieces of that 2008 World Series team were sent away or retired. Finally, Hamels himself was shipped off to the Texas Rangers on July 31, 2015 along with reliever Jake Diekman in exchange for a six-player package.
While for a couple of years it appeared that the Phillies had gotten a good haul for their former ace, time has not been kind to that package. Now it almost certainly could be said that the Phillies lost that trade.
Would Hamels make what would be hailed by fans as a triumphant return to the City of Brotherly Love next year? As a veteran left-hander who still appears to have 2-3 good seasons left him, he would appear to fit in perfectly with what will surely be a team that is looking to win immediately.
If Hamels does indeed reach free agency, there will be other serious suitors for his services. He has always been a target in the past of the New York Yankees. His hometown San Diego Padres would almost certainly be looking for a veteran to lead their young rotation, and want to win now as well after signing Manny Machado this past off-season.
The Cubs certainly like what they see, and would presumably love to keep him around. But with youngsters coming through their organization and considering his age and likely contract demands, there appear to be no talks happening regarding an extension at this point.
Whomever Hamels pitches with in the final few years of his career, that team will be getting a future Hall of Famer. And no matter which club that may be, his plaque at Cooperstown will certainly feature him wearing a Phillies cap. In addition to his enshrinement there, fans will get to fete him once again when he is installed on the Phillies Wall of Fame, something that should happen roughly a decade from now.

Jerad Eickhoff 2019 first trimester report card

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Eickhoff started hot and has cooled of late for the 2019 Phillies

Each season in Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to last for 162 games. This means that the Philadelphia Phillies (30-21) will reach the 1/3 pole with their home game on Tuesday night against the Saint Louis Cardinals.

Over the next few days, I’ll be handing out the report cards for the first “trimester” of the season for each player on the Phillies 2019 roster. There will be a letter grade, along with a brief description of their contributions, including their relevant statistics.
I’ll be back with each player’s grades for the second trimester and the season to that point when the Phillies reach the 108-game mark. That is scheduled to come on July 31, the same date as the MLB trade deadline.

JERAD EICKHOFF

FIRST TRIMESTER GRADE: B
STATS: Eight games (seven starts), 2-2 record, 3.86 ERA, 1.190 WHIP, 35 hits allowed including seven home runs over 42 innings with a 39/15 K:BB ratio.
REPORT: Eickhoff began the season in the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation. Showing that he was healthy over his first two starts after missing nearly all of last season with various injuries, he was promoted and quickly moved into the Phillies starting rotation when Nick Pivetta struggled mightily over his own first few starts in April.
Gabe Kapler used him in relief in his first appearance, and Eickhoff actually earned a Save when he delivered four shutout innings in a 14-3 win over the Mets. Moving into the starting rotation, the right-hander allowed just 15 hits over his first four starts and 26 innings.
However, just when it seemed that he might have returned to the levels that had made him an 11-game winner for the club back in the 2016 season, Eickhoff has hit a major speed bump. Over his last three outings including Friday in Milwaukee, Eickhoff has allowed 17 hits over a dozen innings with a 9.75 ERA and a .333 batting average against. Opposing hitters have slugged seven home runs over those three starts.
Kapler and GM Matt Klentak are going to have some tough decisions to make moving forward with the starting rotation. Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta are clearly the top two starters. But after that it’s pretty much an open competition among a half-dozen arms. Eickhoff is part of that conversation, but he is no longer the lock that he appeared to be becoming just two weeks ago.
You have to grade Eickhoff on the fact that he started the year at Triple-A. It was unknown exactly what he could contribute or when to the Phillies this season. To this point he has given them innings and shown promise. Will he be able to right the ship and stay in the rotation all year? Time will tell.
The 38-year-old Eickhoff and outfielder Nick Williams are also the only pieces remaining with the Phillies from the five-player package obtained from the Texas Rangers back at the 2015 trade deadline for Cole Hamels.
Give us your feedback. Respond either as a comment to this piece or at our social media feeds. What is your take on him to this point? What, if anything, would you do differently regarding this player or their role if you were the Phillies manager or GM?

Phillies reel in big Fish in trade for all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto

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The Phillies obtained all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto from Marlins

The Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins have completed a big trade this afternoon in which all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto will be heading north to Philadelphia.

In return the Marlins will receive catcher Jorge Alfaro, the Phillies top prospect Sixto Sanchez, prospect pitcher Will Stewart, and an international bonus slot per ESPN insider Jeff Passan.

Philadelphia and Miami are in agreement on a trade that would send All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, and an international bonus slot, league sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN.

Realmuto will turn 28-years-old in the middle of spring training next month and is regarded as the top all-around catcher in the game today. He is signed at $5.9 million for this coming season and will be eligible for arbitration this time a year from now. After that he is scheduled to become a free agent.
The Phillies are certain to make early attempts at extending him for at least two-three years, taking him out to his early -30’s. In a piece just yesterday here at PN as these rumors were breaking, I wrote about a recent attempt by San Diego to obtain Realmuto contingent on negotiating just such an extension. The Marlins refused the Padres request.
Realmuto became a National League all-star for the first time last season. He also won the NL Silver Slugger after slashing .277/.340/.484 with 21 homers, 74 RBI, and 74 runs scored. He reached the 30-doubles mark for a third straight season.

Alfaro was obtained by the Phillies back at the 2015 MLB non-waiver trade deadline as part of the package from Texas in exchange for Cole Hamels. He broke into the big-leagues for a 2016 cup of coffee, then was called up in August 2017 and had remained with the Phillies ever since.

Over 143 games with the Phillies, Alfaro slashed .270/.327/.422 with 15 homers, 51 RBI, and 47 runs scored. He also struck out an alarming 179 times, or more than 35% of his 508 plate appearances.
A 20-year-old right-hander, Sanchez was the Phillies top prospect for the last year or so. He signed with the Phillies as an international free agent out of his native Dominican Republic back in February 2015.
Over four minor league seasons topping out a year ago at High-A Clearwater, Sanchez went 15-12 with a 2.48 ERA and 0.994 WHIP. He allowed just 177 hits over 221.1 innings with a 191/43 K:BB ratio.
Stewart was the Phillies pick in the 20th round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft out of an Alabama high school. The 21-year-old southpaw from Huntsville, Alabama has gone 15-6 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.197 WHIP over 56 games, 40 of those starts, topping out at Low-A Lakewood last season. He has surrendered 206 hits over 239 innings with a 203/80 K:BB ratio.
Realmuto is said to be close friends with free agent Bryce Harper, whom the Phillies have been aggressively courting for months. This trade could well be a major signal to Harper that they are setting up their clubhouse to welcome the 26-year-old superstar outfielder.