Tag Archives: Corey Kluber

Searching for a lefty rotation option, Dallas Keuchel could be perfect fit for Phillies

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’OWryYEnWRpBxPMnbSFkjcA’,sig:’wqjPfOCTGaYe7MtfTv4mcfIK7BKnkN3IyaPOvVap8dU=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’491588202′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Keuchel, a lefty, would bring Cy Young and world champion experience to the rotation

The last couple days are about to tick off the 2018 calendar and many fans of the Philadelphia Phillies remain underwhelmed by the team’s off-season moves thus far.

This Hot Stove season opened with the promise of a new impact bat for the middle of the order in either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Those players remain available, and one could still land in Philadelphia.
For now the Phillies additions are Andrew McCutchen in left field and Jean Segura at shortstop. Also, the trade of Carlos Santana has freed up Rhys Hoskins to return to first base.
The lineup now feels more solid. Given health, there is reason to have confidence in both a more consistent offense as well as a more competent defense.
But without major improvement by incumbent players the lineup and bench are still probably not strong enough to overcome the defending National League East Division champion Atlanta Braves, or either the Washington Nationals or New York Mets.
Should they lose out on both Harper and Machado, many of those same underwhelmed fans would likely throw up their hands in surrender. However, the Phillies still have a reasonable chance to compete if they can improve their starting rotation.
In recent days the Phillies have been mentioned as being among the teams involved in trade discussions for Cleveland Indians right-handed ace Corey Kluber. But the team is believed to really want a strong left-handed option to add to the current all-righty mix.

MLB insider Jon Paul Morosi of MLB Network and Fox Sports stated today via his Twitter account that the Phillies are involved in negotiations for free agent left-hander Dallas Keuchel. The major holdup appears to be the club’s unwillingness to meet the player’s desire for a five-year contract.
Sources: pursuing Dallas Keuchel but thus far have been unwilling to meet Keuchel’s request of a 5-year contract. @MLB @MLBNetwork

388 people are talking about this

Keuchel will turn 31-years-old on New Year’s Day. While I am not usually a fan of handing out five-year deals to pitchers on the wrong side of age 30, he might actually be worth the stretch.
Neck woes cost Keuchel most of June and July 2017, but he has been otherwise physically reliable with no arm troubles. Keuchel won the 2015 AL Cy Young Award, has won the AL Gold Glove for pitchers in four of the last five seasons, and is a two-time American League all-star.
Keuchel has been at or above the 200-innings pitched mark three times over his five full seasons as a starting pitcher. He consistently delivers Quality Start efforts, something that is becoming increasingly valuable.
One knock on Keuchel is that he is a “soft-tosser”, generally pitching to contact as opposed to overpowering hitters. That could prove dangerous in a place such as Citizens Bank Park.
He succeeds as many similar “crafty” left-handers have in the past: solid control and smart pitching. Keuchel works off a four-seam fastball that rarely hits 90mph. But he mixes in a cutter, slider, sinker, and changeup. His excellent slider and sinker allow him to induce ground balls at a high rate.
Represented by super-agent Scott Boras, it was believed at the start of the off-season that it would take a five- or six-year deal at roughly $20 million average per season to land Keuchel’s services.
Such a deal would put him at right around the deals currently earned by pitchers such as Wei-Yin Chen and Jeff Samardzija. It would also put him right about where Cole Hamels, who is already 35-years-old, is currently earning.

Keuchel appears to be the kind of lefty pitcher who would age well, and who could have sustained success over the length of a five-year deal that would take him through his age 35 season. Remember, it was just a decade ago that the Phillies traded for a 43-year old Jamie Moyer. He delivered four solid seasons and was key starting pitcher on a world championship team.
Other teams believed to be looking closely at Keuchel are the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels, and Texas Rangers. Again, while I am not generally inclined to support such a deal, I think that Keuchel could be the exception that proves the rule. The kind of smart pitcher who ages well.
He may never win another Cy Young. But Keuchel could well eat 850 or more innings over the next five years at 32-33 starts per season. That would be worth the contract. It is something the Phillies should seriously consider.

Phillies reportedly still involved in Corey Kluber trade discussions

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’BMUu9J-QSG1S7dg4z1hKXw’,sig:’R3dXWS5tp2RPs34In3SM6qz_dLXJgIDriaFYhVy0Xjs=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’618076712′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Kluber is one of baseball’s few genuine ace-caliber starting pitchers

Phillies Nation was rocked by a report on Boxing Day that the two high-profile free agents who the club has publicly pursued with big contract offers this off-season, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, may hold a negative opinion of the city, the Phillies organization, or both.

MLB insider Joel Sherman made the statement, writing the following in the New York Post: “Word is neither player particularly likes Philadelphia…
That statement must be taken with a bit of a grain of salt for a number of reasons. The biggest, of course, is financial. The odds are that if either superstar turns down the Phillies, they would almost certainly be leaving tens of millions of dollars and multiple years of security on the table.
Then you have the source itself. Sherman is a New York guy. Of course, he would prefer to have Machado or Harper playing in his town, where he could enjoy watching them play and reporting on their exploits.
Finally, you have the statement itself. “Word is?” Where does this “word” come from exactly? And neither guy “particularly likes Philadelphia?” What does that even mean? Do they both hate Philly? Do they hold such a negative opinion that they would never play here? Do they even have a negative opinion at all, or are they simply ambivalent about our town?
Set aside the extremely questionable nature of the report, and let’s assume that it is completely accurate on its face. Neither Harper or Machado wants to play in Philly. Both go to a place they really do want, neither deciding to take the “stupid money” that John Middleton is offering. What next for the Phillies?
As Sherman’s report came out on the day after Christmas, at the same time another report was being released by Jon Paul Morosi at MLB.com that again linked starting pitcher Corey Kluber to the Phillies. The Cleveland Indians have been dangling their ace, hoping to land a package of younger players and prospects in return.
While Morosi’s sources have the San Diego Padres as the current front-runners and the Dodgers perhaps a close second in a possible Kluber deal, the Phillies are indeed again lurking and involved.
Tribe GM Mike Chernoff is reportedly looking for a package led by a young, MLB-ready player with upside potential and a couple of solid prospects. Nick Cafardo at The Boston Globe stated the following on the Kluber situation last week:

“…from what we’re hearing, the Indians won’t deal him unless they get value-plus. There would have to be an overpayment of prospects and young players to get a deal done.”

While Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery would certainly be off the table, a Phillies package could lead with any or a combination from among Maikel FrancoNick WilliamsOdubel Herrera, and Roman Quinn.
Any starting pitcher not named Aaron Nola or Jake Arrieta could go. From the prospect ranks, anyone below top prospect Sixto Sanchez should be in play.

All this highlights is the continuing fact that Middleton has made an open checkbook available to general manager Matt Klentak in order to help improve the team. It is now up to Klentak and president Andy MacPhail to entice impact players, difference-makers on the field who will also draw fans, to accept that money.
My take is that, despite New York media wishes, the Phillies are still very much in on Machado and Harper. But the team is also talking other deals, with a potential trade for Kluber just part of that overall strategy to improve the roster for 2019 as best they can.
There are plenty of options still available beyond those mentioned. At third base there is Mike Moustakas. Or you could wait a year and go after Nolan Arenado. At shortstop you could likely roll the dice on a one-year deal with an option on Troy Tulowitzki.
In the outfield, perhaps a short-term deal with A.J. Pollock or Carlos Gonzalez, one that bridges you the two years until Mike Trout becomes a free agent and we are all thrown into an apoplectic frenzy that will make all of this Harper-Machado nonsense look like child’s play.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Corey Kluber reportedly still in play for Phillies

Harper and Machado may prefer Yanks, Dodgers to Phillies respectively

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’UkTX2vYJQ7pYkpI-p4mi-Q’,sig:’ZvYhf62PIKQVcSEzWMEEDCBgEtE8MABAWY49U_z1NQM=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’1000931442′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

The Dodgers appear to have passed the Phillies as leaders for Harper

It has long been speculated that the Philadelphia Phillies would be spending big money this off-season. The primary focus of such speculation has been on the two biggest free agents available, outfielder Bryce Harper and infielder Manny Machado.

The Phillies have tons of available cash and a desperate need to add impact offensive punch to their lineup. Each of these 26-year-olds will be looking for monster financial deals. Seems like a perfect match.
Problem has always been that the Phillies are not the only team interested in the two players. They are also now increasingly looking like a second choice, at best, for each superstar player.
Machado is rumored to have long held a desire to play for the New York Yankees. Jim Bowden at The Athletic reported today the following:

“Machado has told friends in Miami that his preference is the Yankees, and if the offers are close, he’ll be headed to the Bronx.”

However, Bowden and others also believe that the Yankees are not prepared to make the same commitment in years and dollars, possibly as much as $350 million over 10 years, that the Phillies are believed willing to spend.
If that is indeed the case, then the Phillies may slip past the Yankees and win his services. Machado has reportedly told the three teams with whom he met this week – the Phillies, Yankees, and Chicago White Sox – that he won’t be making his decision until 2019.
Of course, 2019 is now just over a week away. It is very possible that the Phillies made the best financial offer, and that he and his wife now have to decide whether to accept less, perhaps tens of millions less, in order to fulfill his Yankees dream. That could well  be what is taking place over the next couple of weeks in the Machado power circle.
Harper may also have the Phillies as a second choice. He appears to have more options than Machado, with the Phillies joining the White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers as the leaders of a group that could also include the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants.
The Dodgers just completed a major trade this afternoon with the Cincinnati Reds. In that deal, Los Angeles sent starting pitcher Alex Wood, outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, and catcher Kyle Farmer to Cincy in exchange for pitcher Homer Bailey and two prospects.
Bailey is simply a contract move here, as the Dodgers have no intention of keeping the frequently injured veteran. The two prospects, shortstop Jeter Downs and pitcher Josiah Gray, are enough return for them.
For the Dodgers, this deal was more about clearing some of their outfield backlog, as well as moving contracts. Per Alden Gonzalez at ESPN, this could well have been a Harper precursor deal:

“In the deal, the Dodgers will save roughly $15 million off their luxury tax payroll for 2019 and will clear enough room in their outfield to potentially pursue free agent Bryce Harper or other targets.”

While the Dodgers could be positioning for a better run at Harper, they could also have their sights set on a number of other moves. It is believed that they are in the mix for catcher J.T. Realmuto and ace starting pitcher Corey Kluber in trade talks.
Both the Phillies and White Sox are believed to be willing to give Harper a similar deal to the one mentioned earlier for Machado, something in the neighborhood of $350 million or more over a decade. It is believed that the Dodgers would be willing to beat the average dollars, but do not want to commit that same length.
Bowden commented on this very possibility in his piece: “…Phillies and White Sox could end up offering the biggest and longest contracts, which means Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, might very well be recommending one of those teams to his client when the process is completed.
From rumblings inside the Phillies organization it does not appear that the club is willing to pay out the huge money it would take to land both Harper and Machado. The latter is believed to be their preferred target. Thursday’s meeting at Citizens Bank Park went “pretty awesome” according to Machado,

Let’s presume that in their perfect world, Machado wants the Yankees and Harper wants the Dodgers. Both players decide that the money is huge enough, and each decides to take those offers. What then, after owner John Middleton stated that the club could spend “stupid money” this off-season?
Club president Andy MacPhail was quoted as follows by Mike Rosenstein at NJ.com:
“…while he did say that we could be spending a little bit stupid, he also went to great lengths to say that one of those two signings were not going to be a prerequisite for a successful off-season. You can have a very successful off-season and not include either one of those. That may or may not be the case.”
There are other options available to the Phillies. They could pursue a shorter term deal with someone like Troy Tulowitzki at third base. They could pursue trades and other short term free agent deals, and then go after Nolan Arenado next season. The following year it would be the long-awaited free agency of Mike Trout.
While there are other options for the Phillies, the fan base would no doubt be at least a little disappointed to not land one of the two young superstar free agents this winter. No decision appears to be forthcoming from either player in short order.
Enjoy Christmas and New Year’s, and we’ll likely be heating up this segment of the Hot Stove again in early January.

Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Paul Goldschmidt among possible Phillies trade targets

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’R1Wb2EHkSh9V54pc3GvPTw’,sig:’Y-ajqvgrtG-oWv6kA0jS-8mJjEwXP-KWk5PtXzahqkE=’,w:’594px’,h:’434px’,items:’843925388′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});//embed-cdn.gettyimages.com/widgets.js

Cleveland willing to entertain offers for veterans including ace Corey Kluber

Much of the talk surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies during these early days of the Hot Stove season has understandably centered on some of the big-name free agents.

The Phillies have a great deal of money available to spend, and so they should be major players for some of the top available talents. However, free agency is just one way in which the team can improve itself.
Earlier this week, Scott Lauber at Philly.com quoted Phillies general manager Matt Klentak, a man squarely on the hot seat this off-season, in regards to the team’s approach:
“Part of the fun of this offseason is we don’t know which way we’re going to go. It could be a starter. It could be a reliever. It could be a hitter. It could be a defender. It could be some combination of that. It could be trades. It could be free agency. To be able to consider any opportunity is exciting.”
The staff at Sports Illustrated released a piece on Friday in which they explored some high-profile names reportedly on the trade block, and then tried to match those players with teams they felt were “Best Fits” for the players.
The Phillies were listed as such in relation to one big bat and a pair of star pitchers. The bat is that of Arizona Diamondbacks impact first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. The pitchers were right-handers Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, publicly placed on the trade block by the Cleveland Indians.

As stated by SI, Goldschmidt would “…easily improve any lineup of any contender. From here, the best fits look to be the Yankees, Rockies, Nationals, and Phillies, with the Astros a potential dark-horse.
Goldschmidt turned 31-years-old in September, so will play at that age all of next season. He is signed through next season at $14.5 million, a bargain for the level of production that his big right-handed bat yields.
Goldschmidt was born in the area in Wilmington, Delaware but he grew up in Texas. Over his eight seasons, ‘Goldy’ has crushed 209 home runs and roped another 267 doubles. His career slash line reads at .297/.398/.532 and he has been a National League all-star in each of the last six seasons.
He has four Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves on his mantle, and was the NL’s Hank Aaron Award winner in the 2013 season during which Goldschmidt led the league in homers and RBI.
While his bat would improve most any lineup, it would be hard to see a genuine fit for Goldschmidt with the Phillies. The team already has Rhys Hoskins, who should be filling the first base position down in South Philly for at least the next half-dozen years.
They also have $40 million committed to Carlos Santana over the next two years, an albatross of a contract for a player whose only decent defensive position would be at first base. Goldschmidt has played no other defensive position other than first base during his big-league career.
In regards to the Phillies possible interest in Goldschmidt, the SI staffers believe it would hinge on the club losing out in the bidding for free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, and finding a way to deal Santana, describing the scenario as follows: “…if they miss out on Harper and Machado both, though they’d have to ditch Carlos Santana somewhere in the process.
The Phillies are absolutely looking to improve their starting rotation this off-season. An experienced, quality arm to slot in between Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta in the rotation would go a long way towards helping the club push up to genuine contending status next year.
The SI staffers rate the Phillies along with the New York Yankees as the two best fits should Cleveland GM Mike Chernoff actually move either Kluber or Carrasco.

Kluber will turn 33-years-old as the 2019 season gets underway next April. After eight big-league seasons, all in Cleveland, he has a career mark of 96-55 with a 3.09 ERA, 1.070 WHIP, and 2.96 FIP. The righty has allowed 1,121 hits over 1,306 innings across 201 games, 196 of those as starts, with a 1,423/277 K:BB ratio.
Anyone who knows anything about pitching statistics realizes that those are true ace-quality numbers. Kluber has won a pair of AL Cy Young Awards and has been an American League all-star in each of the last three seasons.
Contractually he is extremely affordable. Kluber is owed just one more year at $17 million, and then there is a $1 million buyout. However, the team also would have club options for 2020 at $17.5 and 2021 at $18 million.
Carrasco should be familiar to any Phillies fan who knows team history. He was a signed by the club as a 16-year-old out of his native Venezuela back in November of 2003. He rose through the team’s farm system to become one of the Phillies top pitching prospects over the next few years.
At the 2009 non-waiver trade deadline, Carrasco was dealt as the lead piece in a four-prospect package to the Indians in exchange for pitcher Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco.
The deal appeared a steal for the Phillies at first. Lee helped lead the team back to the World Series that October, then returned in 2011 as a free agent, becoming one of the best and most popular Phillies during the post-World Series years.
However, Lee’s career was cut somewhat short by injuries, ending at age 35 in mid-2014. Carrasco meanwhile developed into a top starter in his own right. Over parts of nine seasons he has a 79-62 record with a 3.71 ERA, 1.184 WHIP, and 3.33 career FIP mark.
Carrasco has allowed 1,018 hits over 1,094.1 innings across 207 games, 171 of those as starting assignments. He has a career 1,127/278 K:BB ratio and finished fourth in the 2017 American League Cy Young Award voting.
Contractually, Carrasco is even more affordable than either Kluber or Goldschmidt. He is owed just $9.75 million for next season and then has a buyout at less than $700,000 for 2020. There is also a team option in place at just $9.5 million for that 2020 season during which he would turn 33 years of age.
Each one of these three stars would be financially affordable to the Phillies. Each one would better the team measurably. The real issue would be what would it cost the team in prospects? Both Chernoff in Cleveland and Arizona GM Mike Hazen would be looking for a solid prospect package in return.

In order to get any of the three, we would likely again be looking at a team trying to acquire top Phillies pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez. You might have one or all of the Phillies top hitting prospects including Alec BohmAdam Haseley, and Mickey Moniak in such a package.
As SI related in their piece, Cleveland may not deal either arm in the end. The Indians are a top AL contender, and want to continue as such. “Being “willing to listen” doesn’t equal “actively shopping,”…this one seems like it would need a seriously perfect package in order to come to fruition.
Until actual free agent contracts are agreed to and trades are made, the Phillies are going to continue to be linked to most of the top available names. We’ll be here reporting on it all for you at Phillies Nation as the Hot Stove continues to heat up this fall and winter.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies called ‘best fit’ in trades for Paul Goldschmidt, Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco

ALDS Prediction: Cleveland Indians over New York Yankees

Progressive Field in Cleveland hosts first two ALDS games

No disrespect meant to the most decorated organization in the history of Major League Baseball, but I think they are in over their heads in their ALDS matchup with the Cleveland Indians.

Let’s begin the preview with who the Yankees are coming into the series. Joe Girardi’s squad took control of the top AL Wildcard spot in September, and even made a run at the Boston Red Sox for the AL East Division crown before falling two games short.

That pushed the Yanks into the AL Wildcard Game. In that contest, held on Tuesday night, the Yankees spotted the Minnesota Twins a 3-0 first inning lead. The Bronx Bombers then bombed away, out-scoring the Twins 8-1 the rest of the way.

The Yankees (91-71) big hitters did the damage in that one-game playoff. Aaron Judge went 2-4 with a monster home run (what else is new), and scored three runs. Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner each had two hits, with Gardner and Didi Gregorius each blasting a home run.

Those three are going to have to contribute heavily if the Yankees are to have any hope of overcoming the defending AL champion Indians. The Tribe won five of the seven meetings between the two teams this season, and I just don’t see it happening in a playoff series.

Girardi is scheduled to send big trade acquisition Sonny Gray to the mound in the opener. He’ll be followed by veteran lefty C.C. Sabathia in Game Two. Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka gets the nod for Game Three on Saturday back at Yankee Stadium.

For the Indians (102-60) and manager Terry Francona, it was a surprise to many to see righty Trevor Bauer get the call for the opener. But Francona and the Tribe have a great deal of trust in Bauer, who started Game One of the ALDS a year ago vs Boston, and who also made two starts in the World Series vs the Chicago Cubs.

He will be followed by ace Corey Kluber in Game Two, and then veteran Carlos Carrasco on Saturday. Bauer and the Tribe pen pitching their way to a first-game victory would be huge, with AL Cy Young contender Kluber going on Friday.

Part of the reason that Francona doesn’t fear sending Bauer out in the opener is confidence in his relief corps. Perhaps no manager in this year’s MLB postseason is more experienced in the “bullpenning” concept.

Francona will turn to righties Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith, Danny Salazar, and Mike Clevinger. From the left side it would be Danny Olson and the multi-inning weapon Andrew Miller. The regular closer is right-hander Cody Allen.

Girardi has no problem going to a bullpen game either, as he demonstrated in the Wildcard Game. When starter Luis Severino was knocked out by the Twins in the first inning, the Yankees skipper paraded out a quartet of relievers. Over the ensuing 8.2 innings they combined to allow just one run on five hits, and the offense rallied to victory.

That New York relief group includes righties David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, and Chad Green, all of whom went in the Wildcard Game. Right-handers Dellin Betances, Jordan Montgomery, and Adam Warren are also available. From the left side the options are Jaime Garcia and closer Aroldis Chapman.

The Indians lineup features a pair of American League MVP candidates in shortstop Francisco Lindor and third baseman Jose Ramirez.

Talented veteran second baseman Jason Kipnis missed big chunks of the season, playing in just 90 games. But he returned to the lineup in mid-September and hit .321/.394/.536 over his final nine games. He may be set for a big October.

Another huge addition to the Indians lineup since last year has been Edwin Encarnacion. The veteran DH signed away from the Toronto Blue Jays infused Francona’s lineup with 38 homers and 107 RBI, and he has a knack for coming through in the big moments.

The Indians postseason experience a year ago, their variety of offensive threats, and the depth of their pitching staff all add up to a series victory for me. The Yankees have enjoyed a strong season, but they are a little short on talent against this opponent, and I’m calling it a 3-0 sweep.