Tag Archives: Craig Kimbrel

Craig Kimbrel, Dallas Keuchel and any other additions would be pure baseball decisions for wealthy Phillies

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Veteran closer Craig Kimbrel remains available as a free agent

It was five months ago that Philadelphia Phillies principal owner John Middleton proclaimed that his club might be willing to spend stupid money in order to improve the roster for the 2019 season.

Over the course of the next few months, general manager Matt Klentak orchestrated a roster overhaul that included spending some of that money to bring in new lineup regulars in shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Andrew McCutchen, and catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Klentak also signed young ace starting pitcher Aaron Nola to a contract that will guarantee the right-hander $45 million over the next four years with the possibility of a $16 million fifth season as well.
Middleton himself then got directly involved in delivering the final piece to the reconstruction puzzle with the addition of free agent grand prize Bryce Harper. The superstar outfielder would end up agreeing to a 13-year, $330 million contract.
The result has been a 25-man roster at the start of the 2019 season with a payroll just over the $140 million mark, the highest for the club since the 2015 season.
Per Cot’s Contracts the Phillies 40-man roster is at roughly $188 million committed towards the $206 million Competitive Value Tax threshold. That would leave the club approximately $17.85 million to spend this year for further additions without suffering any penalty, assuming they don’t also shed salary in a trade.
Forbes has now released their annual “The Business of Baseball” piece on Major League Baseball franchise values. Mike Ozanian and Kurt Badenhausen put the values together using the following methodology:
Team values are enterprise values (equity plus net debt) that include the economics of the ballpark but exclude the value of real estate itself. We also do not include the equity value of team-owned regional sports networks. The league’s ownership in Major League Baseball Advanced Media (100%), BamTech (15%), the MLB Network (67%) and league’s investment portfolio are included in our values, equally divided among the 30 teams. These three assets constitute over $400 million in value per team.

CLEARWATER, FL – MARCH 02: Managing Partner John Middleton high fives the Phillie Phanatic as he walks out moments before the press conference to introduce Bryce Harper to the media and the fans of the Philadelphia Phillies on March 02, 2019 at the Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)
The Phillies are estimated by their calculations to be worth $1.85 billion, which ranks the team at ninth overall. Ranked above the Phillies are both of the New York and Los Angeles clubs, as well as Boston, Saint Louis, San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs.
Going a step further, Forbes also ranks the Phillies second overall in MLB in the area of Operating Income at the $94 million mark, just a million bucks shy of the top-ranked Dodgers.
What this means is that Middleton and the others in the Phillies ownership group are flush as far as their baseball team investment is concerned. They are in such great shape, in fact, that they could certainly afford to push the 2019 payroll past that CBT threshold if they so wish and still make a killing.
Middleton has already stated that the Phillies are willing to spend more if it makes sense and adds something of real value that the team is missing in order to better contend. So whether or not to go after free agent starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel or closer Craig Kimbrel is more a baseball decision than anything else.
The Phillies would like to give their in-house options on the current 40-man roster as many opportunities as possible to demonstrate whether or not they can be a part of the contending mix. That proof is not going to come over a couple of weeks worth of games, no matter the results or how frustrated the fan base may get with specific poor performances.
But the leash for those in-house options will not be infinite. If the time does come that moves absolutely need to be made in order to better keep the 2019 team in contention for a postseason berth, you can expect Middleton to give his blessing for more payroll to be added. The money is clearly there.

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.

The Phillies are being linked to numerous deals in this Hot Stove season

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The Phillies are being linked to closer Craig Kimbrel and many other free agents

This past weekend saw the annual holiday shopping season open with the mall-walking and store-hopping zaniness of Black Friday. Today has become known as ‘Cyber Monday’, where the gift-purchasing moves to the internet.

The teams of Major League Baseball are also doing some shopping of their own. New rumor logs are being tossed on the Hot Stove fires on a daily basis at this point, keeping baseball fans warm with thoughts of moves by their favorite teams to put them over the top.
To categorize things down in South Philly at the offices of the Philadelphia Phillies as “hot” might actually be an understatement. The team is being linked on a regular basis with almost every half-decent free agent name and trade candidate available.
We have already covered two big names today here at Phillies Nation with my piece on the GM Matt Klentak’s reported talks with Arizona regarding Dbacks superstar Paul Goldschmidt. And our Drew Rhoades wrote of the Phillies interest in lefty reliever Andrew Miller.
The Phillies involvement in the sweepstakes to land one or the other or both of the two biggest-ticket items this holiday season is well known. Both outfielder Bryce Harper and shortstop Manny Machado are apparently at the very top of the Phillies shopping wish list.
However, as Jon Morosi at MLB.com reiterated today, the club is looking down a lengthy holiday shopping list, and they very well could start checking off some other items first, while still trying to pick-up those top prizes.

“The Phillies aren’t waiting on decisions from Harper and Machado as the team ambitiously pursues upgrades to its roster…sources said it’s possible the Phils will sign multiple free agents before Harper or Machado agree to terms.”

Morosi ticked off some names that his sources have revealed are on that Phillies shopping list including pitchers Patrick CorbinNathan Eovaldi and J.A. Happ. The list also includes outfielders A.J. Pollock and Michael Brantley.
Also mentioned by Morosi was the Phillies recently reported interest in closer Edwin Diaz, who the Seattle Mariners say could be available, but for a price. Our Tim Kelly here at Phillies Nation recently wrote that the Phillies were showing interest in both Diaz and Mariners infielder Jean Segura.
Morosi mentions either of the Phillies top two pitching prospects, Sixto Sanchez or Adonis Medina, as likely having to be included in such a deal with Seattle. He also states that if they fail in that pursuit, the club could be adding closers Craig Kimbrel or Zach Britton to their list.

Suffice it to say that as you are out at the stores or at home (or work) on the internet doing your own shopping, Matt Klentak and his team down at Citizens Bank Park are doing their own.

I think it’s fair to say that if you are a Phillies fan, the GM will be stuffing something into your stocking long before Santa ever has a chance to come sliding down your chimney a month from now. Let’s hope that when all is said and done, that Klentak finds himself on our “nice” list, and not our “naughty” list.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies holiday shopping list goes well beyond biggest-ticket items

Relievers Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek being shopped by Phillies

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Tommy Hunter now among those reportedly being shopped by the Phillies

The MLB Hot Stove season is in full swing as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. The Philadelphia Phillies appear to be involved in a new rumor every single day, and today is no different.

Last week’s hot rumor was that the club was “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana. Now comes word that the Phillies have two more of the veteran free agents signed last off-season, relievers Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter, on the trade blocks.
A 38-year-old right-hander who brings a dozen years of experience in Major League Baseball with a half-dozen different organizations, Neshek first came to the Phillies in a November 2016 trade with the Houston Astros.
Neshek was flipped at the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for a trio of prospects led by infielder Jose Gomez, who now ranks #16 on MLB.com’s top Phillies prospectslist. Neshek became a free agent that fall and re-signed with the Phillies on December 15, 2017.

Hunter is a 32-year-old right-hander who has also pitched with a half-dozen different MLB organizations across his 11-year big-league career. He signed with the Phillies as a free agent the same day as Neshek last December.
Neshek is owed $7.75 million for next season with a $7 million team option for 2020. There is also a $750k club buyout for that season. Hunter has $9 million owed to him next year and then he will become a free agent.
The first word that the two relievers were being shopped around came today via Jon Heyman on Twitter:
phillies not only have carlos santana on the block, as @Ken_Rosenthal said but also tommy hunter and pat neshek. the relievers had solid years, but with so many quality bullpen arms on the free agent market, timing for trades may not be easy

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The Phillies wouldn’t mind having either reliever return to the team in the 2019 season. Each had a solid year with the club in 2018 and could be expected to continue providing solid experience and results next year.
However, the free agent market is flooded with relief pitchers in this current off-season. If the Phillies could get a team or teams to take on the nearly $17 million owed to the two veterans for 2019, they would likely be able to sign a couple of new free agents at an even better price who could provide similar results.
Among the more attractive arms on the market are Craig KimbrelAndrew MillerZach BrittonAdam OttavinoKelvin Herrera, and Joakim Soria. Some of those pitchers would be expensive. But there are deals to be had among some three dozen available and experienced relief pitchers.

Of course, therein lies the rub. Any potential trade partner could also sign a more affordable free agent from among the many available options. The Phillies would likely have to either eat some of the salary or toss in a prospect to get a deal done.

What if the Phillies are unable to land any impact talent this off-season?

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Phillies GM Matt Klentak is squarely on the hot seat this Hot Stove season

One of the most highly anticipated and important ‘Hot Stove’ seasons in Philadelphia Phillies history is about to get underway. Dozens of players across baseball are now free agents, and by this weekend they will be able to negotiate with the Phillies and other ball clubs.

The Phillies have a ton of money to spend. It is possible that controlling owner John Middleton and his partners could make upwards of $100 million available to GM Matt Klentak in order to add new players via free agent signings and/or trade acquisitions.
There has been a great deal of speculation among the fan base on which players the Phillies might target. Bryce HarperManny MachadoCraig Kimbrel or another elite reliever? Patrick Corbin or some other proven starting pitcher?
For a variety of reasons, both the team itself and those of us who cover the Phillies like to talk and write about the possibilities. Adding the right couple of players, after all, could vault the club to contending status entering the 2019 season.
That kind of talk is exciting. It gets us excited. It gets fans excited. When fans are excited, they like to read about the team. Obvious then why we writers like to drum up scenarios in which the Phillies sign talented ball players.
But just once, and only once because I too like to remain positive, let’s whisper softly the words that no one really wants to consider: what if the Phillies are unable to sign anyone this off-season? By that, I mean anyone of consequence. No Harper. No Machado. No Kimbrel or Corbin or Josh Donaldson or J.A. Happ?
This is, after all, a very real possibility. While the Phillies indeed have tremendous financial resources available, they are not the only team with such resources. They are not the only team that wants to get better on the field. They are not the only team that would like to add a drawing card to their roster.
Let’s say that Clayton Kershaw stays with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The two sides have already agreed to extend their negotiating window by a couple of extra days in hopes of working out an extension. That is a very strong possibility.
And let’s say that Corbin ends up going home to the New York Yankees, which seems a foregone conclusion in the minds of many evaluators. That would be two prime arms off the market.

Imagine a scenario in which the Braves get Harper and the Brewers get Machado. Two NL contenders improve. (Arturo Pardavila III and Ian D’Andrea)
Who else might be a serious suitor for Harper and Machado? There are a number of possibilities. Among contending teams, the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves appear to be in just as good a financial position as the Phillies.
The Braves are already ahead of the Phillies as the two teams build back from a half-decade of losing. Atlanta won the division going away this year and have some fascinating young talent. Let’s say they add a big basher like Harper to their lineup.
Let’s say the Brew Crew decides to dangle a boatload of cash at Machado in order to get him to give up his shortstop ambitions and play third base for them. And that’s just two competitors. There will be more suitors for both players.
Happ, Kimbrel, Donaldson, Andrew McCutchenDallas KeuchelNathan Eovaldi all decide they would rather play elsewhere.
You see, it takes more than having a lot of money to throw around. It takes someone on the other side willing to accept your money. There’s an old saying: it takes two to tango. Maybe the players take a look at what the Phillies have and simply don’t see enough opportunity to win.
Players love money. We all do. But the vast majority of competitive ball players also want a legitimate opportunity to play in October. To experience the joy of winning a World Series. To earn a ring. To ride on a parade float.

Phillies fans will rake Matt Klentak over the Hot Stove coals if he can’t get big things done this off-season.
What if Middleton and Klentak cannot convince any of the better free agents to sign on with the 2019 Phillies? So maybe you come to spring training with the same young players who spent much of 2018 playing down at Citizens Bank Park.
Maybe you add a second-tier free agent to the mix, someone like lefty pitcher Gio Gonzalez or a 33-year-old Carlos Gonzalez. Or, gulp, Freddy Galvis to improve your defense at shortstop.
How would Phillies fans feel – how would you feel – if Gabe Kapler‘s 2019 lineup on Opening Day was made up of Carlos SantanaScott KingeryJ.P. CrawfordMaikel FrancoJorge Alfaro, and some outfield mix of Odubel HerreraAaron AltherrRoman QuinnNick Williams, and Rhys Hoskins?
Do you think that the Phillies could expect to overtake the Braves and Nationals and hold off a re-tooling Mets squad simply with individual improvements from their own young players? Because I can guarantee you, that is how it would be sold to you.
The Phillies finished in third place on merit this past season, and barely at that. Had the Mets been healthy all year, the Phillies would likely have finished in fourth place. Those are the facts.
The Phillies had one of the worst defensive teams in baseball, and Klentak today alluded to Hoskins returning to left field and another year of a further aging Santana as his first baseman. The Phillies had one of the worst run-producing lineups in the game. How much does that improve if no impact players are added to the mix?
And so, you see what I am getting at here. You see how important the Phillies signing a couple of impact players is for this off-season. Not one. At least two. Because if the Phillies brass should crap out, well, that worst-case scenario would indeed be bleak.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as Phillies 2019: the worst-case scenario could be bleak